Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has asserted that during his tenure as the leader of the country from 1999 to 2007, no member of his cabinet possessed the authority to authorize expenditures exceeding N25 million without his explicit approval.
Obasanjo made these remarks during an exclusive interview with TheCable. He was responding to questions regarding the former Minister of Power and Steel, Olu Agunloye, and how he could have granted a $6 billion contract to Sunrise Power and Transmission Ltd in relation to the Mambilla Hydropower Project back in 2003.
Presently, Sunrise Power is embroiled in an arbitration dispute with Nigeria at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris, France, concerning an alleged contract breach by the federal government.
In the initial arbitration, Sunrise Power sought compensation of $2.3 billion, asserting that it had expended substantial sums on financial and legal consultants before the contract was terminated. In the subsequent arbitration, the company sought a $400 million settlement, which was part of the terms of the agreement it reached with the federal government in 2020 to resolve the dispute.
In response to these developments, Obasanjo stated, “During my presidency, no minister had the authority to approve expenditures exceeding N25 million without my direct presidential consent. It would have been impossible for Agunloye to commit my government to a $6 billion project without my explicit permission, and I did not grant him any such permission.”
The former president went on to say, “If a commission of inquiry were to be established today to investigate this matter, I am willing to testify. In fact, I might not even need to testify because all the relevant records are readily available. I never granted approval for it.”