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More heads to roll over $16bn power probe

..Detained NDPHC, 2 CEOs regain temporary freedom, as operatives trail more key suspects

By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor

Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission probing how the sum of $8.5 billion meant for the payment of compensation to communities for right of way for the $16 billion power project in 2006, have obtained more documents exposing how the cash was diverted by top government officials, Vanguard learned last night.EFCC, Galaxy

Armed with new information on the cash disbursement, the operatives are reported to be trailing the prime suspects, some of who have reportedly gone underground.

The development came as the commission, yesterday, granted administrative bail to two top officials of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company and two chief executive officers of the engineering firms awarded jobs under the botched contracts.

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While the two government officials were detained for the payment of over N48  billion compensation to some communities, the two engineering firm officers were detained for non-execution of jobs after payment.

A top source in EFCC confirmed the release of the four officials at 5pm on Thursday but said they were ordered to report back on Friday and Monday next week to continue with interrogation over the role in the cash pay-out, which the potential benefiting communities have denied ever receiving.

The top source, which is close to the investigation, said: “The suspects have been able to produce some vital documents required by the commission on the matter but we want them to report to us in the next few days to compare notes on what they have brought.

“Certain documents on compensation have also been submitted to the investigators, but key records pertaining to authorisation of payment are still outstanding; and we need them urgently for the assignment at hand,” the source said.

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“We are also on the trail of other key suspects deeply involved or neck deep in the multi-million power scam, which has denied this country steady power supply,” the officials stated.

It will be recalled that the federal government had directed the EFCC to look into how the Obasanjo administration allegedly expended $16 billion on power projects across the country with little or nothing to show for it, thereby making the country to lose value for money.

The contract has become a highly controversial issue since Obasanjo left office especially as the power situation in the country continues to worsen.

Vanguard

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