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Jonathan orders probe of NITEL sale

….Approves N1.06bn for SAHCOL salaries

By Daniel Idonor
Acting President Goodluck Jonathan Friday ordered an immediate probe into the controversies surrounding the recent sale of the Nigerian Telecommunication Company, NITEL, to a new generation telecom outfit at the cost of $2.5 billion.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Acting President, Mr Ima Niboro, said the probe decision is one of the outcomes of the NCP meeting presided over by Jonathan.

“The Acting President has set up a committee to take a fresh look at the sale of NITEL, following the controversy that has trailed the transaction with New Generation Telecoms Company”.

The Acting President who doubles as the Chairman of the National Council on Privatization, NPC, has also approved the immediate release of the total sum of N1.068 billion for the pay-off of workers of the Skypower Aviation Handling Company Limited, SAHCOL.

“Also today (yesterday), the National Council on Privatisation approved One Billion, Sixty-Eight Million, Six hundred and Eighty-Six Thousand, Five Hundred and Seventy-Eight Naira (N1, 068, 686, 578 .00) as pay-off of active staff liabilities of Skypower Aviation Handling Company Ltd (SAHCOL) which was successfully privatized recently.  The money will be deducted from the earnings from the sale of SAHCOL.

According to him, the decision followed the fresh report that heralded the sale which indicated that one of the technical firms to the bid winner had denied knowledge of the transaction.

“It would be recalled New Generation Telecoms Ltd had won the bid for NITEL at $2.5bn but its technical partners, China Unicom, had denied knowledge of the deal”, he said.

He said “the panel is to look into the sale to examine the recurrent issues surrounding it and report back to the NCP by next Friday”.

Members of the Committee include the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, (Chairman), the Minister of Finance, the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Principal Secretary to the Acting President, the Acting Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprises and the Chairman of the Technical Committee on Privatisation.


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