The House of Representatives Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT), on Thursday recommended that statutory Rights of Occupancy revoked because of the Centenary City project, be restored to original allottees. This was the crux of the recommendations contained in a report submitted to the House during plenary by the committee on FCT investigating the alleged irregularities surrounding the $18.7 billion dollar Centenary City Project in Abuja.
The report, which was submitted by the Chairman of the committee, Rep. Herman Hembe, also recommended that the Right of Occupancy and Certificate of Occupancy purportedly granted to Centenary City Plc on April, 10, 2014 be withdrawn. The recommendation also called for the probe of former Secretary to Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, and the former Minister of FCT, Sen. Bala Mohammed by relevant agencies.
The committee alleged that the duo have breached Public Procurement Act and Presidential directives on the project. The report further urged the Federal Government to direct the Managing Director of Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority to revoke the certificate of free trade zone granted to the Centenary City PLC. It added that the company should be deregistered as a free zone entity. According to the report, the Code of Conduct Bureau and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission should investigate the role of the parties involved in the promotion and selection of Centenary City Plc as an investor and their roles in the management of the project.
The committee observed that implementation of the project from beginning to the current status was a source of concern. It said that Presidential directives were flouted, relevant laws violated and contractual obligations wantonly breached. “The committee determined that the only feasible way to do justice and equity to all parties involved in, and affected by the project is to restore them to the status quo,’’ it added. However, some minority members of the committee led by Rep Linus Okorie submitted a dissenting opinion to the Clerk of the House, Mr Mukhtar Kusari. They disagreed with most of the recommendations submitted by Hembe.
Okorie claimed that the reporting pattern and the consequent findings did not present the entire facts and consequently the recommendations did not flow from the true facts or findings. “It is clear that the recommendations were at variance with the findings of the Committee,’’ Okorie alleged. Okorie faulted Hembe’s report that recommended restoration of the land taken away from former owners . He said, “the basis for the recommendation is misplaced as the Committee had confirmed that the City is not a Land Swap Programme and so cannot be guided by Land Swap terms’’. On the call for anti-graft agencies to investigate the role of Anyim and Mohammed in the project, Okorie said that the Committee did not make any finding as to fraud and did not also allege any.
“So, what is the basis for asking the agencies listed in the above recommendation to come in? The Committee only alleged that conditions were not met; does that come within the mandate of these agencies? At best, this could be an administrative infraction. Again, there is no finding that Sen. Anyim acted outside the purview of his official responsibility as the government official coordinating the project. It is clear that the recommendations were at variance with the findings of the Committee. I believe that if the Committee had spent more time to make detailed findings, it would have come to a different conclusion from what is recommended,’’ Okorie said.