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Nuclear fraud in Nigeria

INVESTIGATION: At Nigeria’s abandoned nuclear centre, failed projects, idle staff and ‘fraud’ [Part 2] Premium Times, Kemi Busari Awarded at over N400 million in 2009, what was supposed to be a radioactive waste management facility at Nigeria’s Nuclear Technology Centre never came to life.

Instead, a building overgrown with scrubs lies east of the gamma irradiation facility. Waste management plants and equipment comprise various devices and machines used for treating, converting, disposing and processing wastes from various sources.

The construction of low/medium radioactive waste management facility was awarded at the contract sum of N401.4 million to Commerce General Limited and so far, N312 million has been paid to the contractor, the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) said in response to a Freedom of Information request made over a month ago.

The project, according to NAEC, was 78 percent complete and has “only suffered delays.”

“The project was not abandoned. It only suffered delays due to factors outside the control of the commission,” the agency said.

The delays, NAEC said, include; “inadequate funding of capital projects generally, over the years, modification of the original design, as recommended by IAEA experts, which has resulted into changes in the BOQ figures and this development is being discussed with the contractor,” and also, “no outstanding Interim Payment Certificate on the project.”

A staff of the NTC, who was privy to the contract and execution since 2009, said the project had been used to embezzle money from government since the time of award.

“It is true that they changed the plan of the plant but they’ve never done anything meaningful there since they mounted these blocks,” he said.

“The contractor is not qualified and along the line, he got stuck in the project and we’ve not seen or heard about him for many years now.”

PREMIUM TIMES’ efforts to reach the management of Commerce Nigeria Limited were unsuccessful as the company has no website or any visible record.

Its recorded address at Plot 3, Railway Avenue, Kachia Road, Kakuri, Kaduna South, Kaduna, does not exist, this paper found out during a visit there.

“We’ve never heard of that place,” several residents of Kachia told this reporter after attempts were made to locate the company.

In Nigeria, it is not uncommon for ‘brief case’ contractors, most times in connivance with the awarding entity, to register a company for the sole purpose of bidding for contracts and making quick money.

As alleged by staff of the centre, this may be the case as even the figures quoted in FOI response by NAEC are contradictory.

While the commission said the project was 78 percent complete, a visit to the facility told a different story: an expanse of land overgrown with weeds and a construction no way near half-way complete which, in no way, justified the commission’s claim of paying almost 80 percent of the total contract sum to the contractor.

If the contract was awarded at N401. 4 million and N312 million had been paid so far, the balance should be about N89 million. But NAEC quoted N329 million.

‘Abandoned’ nuclear instrumentation laboratory

One of the components of the masterplan of the centre is the nuclear instrumentation laboratory which is supposed to serve as workshop for students, researchers and others in the nuclear field.

The project was awarded at the cost of N829.6 million to Trois Associate Limited in 2012 and it is 68% complete, NAEC’s response to an FOI stated………….

Nigeria joined IAEA, an international body for cooperation in the nuclear field in promoting safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies, in 1964.

The IAEA safety standards, was enshrined to ensure protection of people and the environment against radiation risks, safety of facilities and activities that give rise to radiation risks. The world body recognised this to include, safety of nuclear installations, radiation safety, the safety of radioactive waste management and safety in the transport of radioactive material.

The world body listed some fundamentals which must be observed by member states in section 3.30 of the safety standard………

As presented in the first part of this story, PREMIUM TIMES investigation has revealed that the centre has violated the core of safety principles expected at the centre and thus, risk withdrawal of its license……..https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/256828-investigation-nigerias-abandoned-nuclear-centre-failed-projects-idle-staff-fraud-part-2.html

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January 29, 2018 - Posted by | Nigeria, secrets,lies and civil liberties

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