Mambilla: How Abba Kyari unilaterally approved $5.8bn power project; Buhari angry
Details have emerged on how Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mallam Abba Kyari, took advantage of the President’s ill-health to approve N2 trillion ($5.8 billion) Mambilla Power project contract in his absence, and without due process.
Abba Kyari side-stepped acting President Yemi Osinbajo and all advisories from Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to unilaterally approve the contract with stern warning to deal with anybody who goes against his words.
The matter which later got to ears of Buhari was said to have angered the President after he had been briefed of existing contractual obligations between the Federal Government, the Nigerian company and a Chinese firm, an obligation Abba Kyari brushed aside in his desperation to sign off the project to his favoured companies.
Presidency sources said Mr. Buhari is yet to take any action against Kyari but “I can tell you that the President is really angry because he has always wanted to get this power project going at quick pace,” a source told our reporter.
In the petition to Buhari, a businessman, Mr. Leno Adesanya, outlined how his company, Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Limited was removed as a local content partner to the project. The letter detailed how Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari allegedly ignored both the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Vice President to take a unilateral decision on the project.
Excerpts of the petition showed how his company, Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Limited was removed as a local content partner to the project. The letter detailed how Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari allegedly ignored both the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Vice President to take a unilateral decision on the project.
Below are excerpts from the letter which was copied to the Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN, GCON, Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria and Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN, Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Re: Proposed Amicable Resolution in respect of ongoing $2.3 billion ICC Arbitration in Paris between Sunrise, Federal Government of Nigeria (the “FGN”) and Sinohydro Corporation states:
“As a result of numerous attempts to fraudulently divert billions of dollars from the 3050MW Mambilla hydropower project (the “Project”) to a 1500MW solar power project, the execution of the 3050MW Mambilla hydropower project has refused to take-off the ground. The reason being, China Exim bank’s insistence of compliance with due process, and terms of the November 2017 EPC contract signed with the Chinese JV Partners….
“Ironically, this fraudulent multi-billion dollar solar power project was rejected by the Federal Executive Council (the “FEC”) on the 16th of August 2017 when it was fraudulently packaged with the Mambilla hydropower project as one project. While the Solar Power project was submitted without any Feasibility studies, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports, NASS budget approvals, and without any bid process (due process) in the selection of the proposed EPC contractor(s) for both the 3050MW Mambilla hydropower project and the 1500MW Solar Power project.
“Your Excellency’s commitment to expeditiously execute the Project in June 2015 was communicated by the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN (the “HAGF”) to the Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing (the “HMOPWH”) Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN on the 20th of May, 2016; when the HAGF directed the HMOWPH to comply fully with all existing agreements between the Federal Government of Nigeria (the “FGN”) and Sunrise; basically the out-of-court Settlement, and the General Project Execution Agreement(s) of November 25th 2012.
“However, on the 25th of May 2016, Your Excellency’s Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari (the “COS”) invited three Chinese companies, Sinohydro Corporation of China (the “Sinohydro”), China Ghezouba Corporation of China (the “CGGC”), and China Geo-Engineering Group Corporation (the “CGCOC”) to the Presidency, and instructed them to form a joint venture for the execution of the Project. Sinohydro, CGGC and HMOPWH informed the COS of existing agreements with Sunrise, and recent directives from Your Excellency, as communicated by HAGF. The COS insisted on his earlier instructions and threatened to deal ruthlessly with Sunrise, or anyone who interferes in the Project.
“In view of the Presidency’s invitation for CGCOC (formerly CGC) participation in the Project, we petitioned Your Excellency, HMOPWH, and HAGF in April 2017 with evidence of previous corrupt practices CGC in May 2007 when they paid millions of dollars to a very senior Presidency official to enable CGGC/CGC sign a $1.46 billion Mambilla Civil Works contract on the 28th of May, 2007, as one of the $16 billion Nigerian Integrated Power Project (the “NIPP”) power projects. CGC made this confession to then President Umaru Musa YarAdua GCFR in February 2008 while on a State visit to China, while the senior presidency official admitted to then President YarAdua of collecting the bribe, which led to the termination of the contract, and removal of the official from the Presidency in 2008.
“On the 22nd of May, 2017, Your Excellency’s COS instructed the HMOPWH to “remove Sunrise from the Mambilla hydropower project, and instructed that CGGC, CGCOC and SINOHYDRO would execute the Project”.
“Bearing in mind that Your Excellency was on medical vacation in the UK, and Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN GCON was the Acting President, we petitioned then Acting President, and the HAGF in respect of the constitutional powers of the COS to approve N2 trillion or $5.8 billion contract in your absence, and without Due Process.
On the 24th of July, 2017, the HAGF reacted to our petitions by advising then Acting President Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN GCON to totally ignore the instructions of the COS, and advised that the HMOPWH should sign the $5.8 billion EPC contract with Sinohydro and CGGC (50/50), with Sunrise as the Local Content Partner to the Project.
On the 10th of November, 2017, the HMOPWH signed the $5.8 billion Mambilla hydropower EPC contract with CGGC, CGCOC and SINOHYDRO.
“As a result of this illegality, we commenced arbitration proceedings against the FGN and SINOHYDRO Corporation of China at the International Chamber of Commerce (the “ICC”) in Paris.
In February 2018, Sinohydro (owned by the Chinese Government with over $3 trillion in foreign reserves) filed a request for an amicable resolution with Sunrise.
In light of the recent, irreversible arbitration ruling delivered against the FGN in the UK and the United States for Nigeria to pay at least $9 billion in damages to Process and Industrial Development Company in the UK (the “P&ID) for breach of contract. Our lawyer, Chief Femi Falana SAN held discussions with Your Excellency in July 2018 to explore avenues for an amicable resolution, and prevent another $2 billion in damages against the FGN.
“ As a result, Your Excellency expressed your full support and approval for expeditious settlement of the dispute with Sunrise, and if possible, “in line with Your Excellency’s directive to HAGF in 2016”.
In light of the above, and the need to urgently communicate a settlement to the Paris Arbitration panel, we hereby seek Your Excellency’s approval for the following Prayers:
A: Compliance with the 24th July legal recommendation of HAGF to then Acting President Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN GCON, with the signing of a new $5.8 billion EPC contract between SUNRISE/CGGC 50%, SUNRISE/SINOHYDRO 50%, with SUNRISE as the exclusive Local Content Partner to the Project.
B1: Immediate release of 15% ( US $870,000,000.00) Counterpart funds to China Exim bank on behalf of SUNRISE, CGGC and SINOHYDRO.
C: Approval for the Nigerian Sovereign Investments Authority (the “NSIA”) to immediately negotiate our Paris arbitration claims, and make payments on terms and conditions that are mutually acceptable.
D: A meeting with Your Excellency, and respectfully, the Vice President, HAGF, NSIA HMOPWH, ICPC, EFCC, and the Chinese JV Partners, and the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, to discuss the corruption and fraudulent practices delaying the execution of the Project, bearing in mind the Chinese zero tolerance on corruption, and Your Excellency’s strong position against corruption.