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Senate probes NCDMB over $10bn gas project

The Senate Committee on Local Content, on Wednesday, grilled the management of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board over alleged breach of local content laws in the execution of the $10bn Train 7 gas project being executed by SAIPEM.

SAIPEM is an Italian multinational oil field services company serving as the principal contractor involved in executing the Train 7 project.

The committee had begun an investigation based on petitions against SAIPEM.

Chairman of the committee, Senator Teslim Folarin, had summoned Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Simbi Wabote, over perceived regulatory negligence.

At the opening of the investigative hearing held on Wednesday, Folarin noted that the summons to the NCDMB was based on the alleged failure by SAIPEM to defend allegations of violations of local content laws in the execution of project contract.

The lawmaker said, “SAIPEM appeared before this committee in December last year on alleged violations of local content laws in the execution of the $10bn Train 7 Project without any convincing defensive submissions.

“The management of the construction firm failed to defend any of the allegations made against it by the petitioners as far as adherence to local content laws is concerned.

“Failure of SAIPEM to speak convincingly to the petitions led to the appearance of management of NCDMB before us today, being the regulatory agency monitoring the implementation of the local content laws.”

After about two hours of a closed-door session with the NCDMB management, the committee said the board’s submissions were not satisfactory.

Speaking to journalists after the session, Vice-Chairman of the committee and Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi-Abdullahi, said NCDMB was to reappear before the panel on Tuesday.

He said, “Submissions made by the Executive Secretary of NCDMB before the committee at the closed-door session were unsatisfactory by grossly lacking in facts and figures.

“In ensuring thoroughness in the investigation of the allegations made against SAIPEM, and by extension regulatory negligence on the part of NCDMB, the committee has directed the agency to reappear before it next week Tuesday.

“We are being cautious in coming up with a report on the investigation because issues involved are very sensitive to the Nation’s economy and development.”

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