The senate on Thursday resolved to investigate a consultancy agreement facilitated by Zainab Ahmed, former minister of finance, for a questionable gas deal. The resolution of the upper legislative chamber was sequel to a motion sponsored by Aniekan Bassey, senator representing Akwa Ibom north-east. TheCable had reported how the arrangement – a Make-up Gas Reprocessing (MUGR) deal – could land the federal government in legal troubles. Make-up gas (MUG) is the gas a power generation company (GenCo) has already paid for but has, for one reason or another, not utilised. Ahmed engaged Ahmed Zakari & Co, as transaction advisers, to liaise between Calabar Generation Company Limited (Calabar GenCo) and Accugas Ltd, with the view to converting MUG to liquified natural gas (LNG) for export to earn the country revenue. Former President Muhammadu Buhari gave approval. While moving his motion on the floor of the senate, Bassey alleged that the process in which the advisers were paid for their services was not transparent. “The then minister of finance, budget and national planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, initiated the MUG deal involving Calabar GenCo and Accugas,” the senator said. “The controversial MUG deal was devoid of transparency even in the fees paid to the transaction advisers.” Contributing to the debate, Aminu Abbas, senator representing Adamawa central, said there is a need to probe the deal. “It is a very serious issue when you look at the take or buy agreement. It is an issue that involves a huge amount of money,” Abbas said. “If we look into it, it will help this country. The sum of $10 million is not a small amount of money.” Thereafter, Barau Jibrin, deputy president of the senate, referred the motion to the committee of power (when constituted) to look into the matter. In 2020, TheCable reported that Accugas issued a “notice of non-payment” to the federal government over outstanding invoices to the tune of $15.8 million. This was the first step in activating the World Bank partial risk guarantee (PRG) signed by the federal government under the gas supply agreement (GSA). Under the GSA signed in May 2017, Nigeria is obliged to pay Accugas over $10 million monthly with or without gas supply to the Calabar GenCo, owned by Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) Ltd. The MUG is seen as an attempt by the federal government to meet its initial obligation.

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