Power Projects: EFCC Begins Probe Of Obasanjo, Yar’Adua, Jonathan Governments
In a fresh move to unmask the actors in the controversial $16billion power projects of the federal government, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has begun the investigation of the administrations of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, his immediate successor, the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, and former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The three leaders and some of their officials are being probed over the role they played in the disbursement of the $16billion on the power sector between 2006 and 2011 to various contractors.
The probe of the “investment” in the electricity sector, which some Nigerians described as a scam, came on the heels of President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent declaration that he would recover the money from all persons and organisations involved in the alleged scandal.
The humongous funds alleged to have been diverted into private pockets by the participating companies and other top officials of the government was during the power sector reform initiative by the trio of Obasanjo, Yar’Adua, and Jonathan.
A very credible source in the EFCC told LEADERSHIP Weekend that so far the commission had uncovered certain disturbing issues indicating that although the said sum of $16 billion covered investment in the whole power sector which cut across generation, transmission and distribution, the projects were actually handled by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC).
Interestingly, the NDPHC belongs to the three tiers of government – federal, states and local governments.
The source said: “Our investigators also discovered that most of the firms which secured contracts under the power projects collected huge funds in naira and dollars but did not perform up to 30 per cent before abandoning them.
“Incidentally, most of the payments occurred between 2006 and 2011 during the regimes of former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan,” he said.
On how some of the transactions were carried out, the source said: “The first amount released under Excess Crude Account (ECA), under the power project was about $8.3billion.
“One of the major contractors was Rockson Engineering Ltd; the company has been taken over by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) for failure to meet other financial obligations.”
Meanwhile, LEADERSHIP Weekend learnt that the company secured four contracts during the period under review and received over $2billion in tranches of 180million, $220million, $240million, and $480million.
The company was also alleged to have received the sums of $11million and another N150million under questionable circumstances. These payments are still under investigation, the source stated.
According to him, “investigation further revealed that despite the release of the above funds to Rockson, the firm was only put in place 30 per cent of the construction of the projects involved.
“The firm also claimed that it imported certain materials since 2013 which are lying in Onne Port without clearing,” the source added.
Due Process Violated In Transactions
The top official of the commission, also alleged that the contracts were awarded without undergoing due diligence as prescribed by the federal government.
“Lack of due diligence pervades the transactions while certain officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are under probe for certain regulatory flaws.
“Instead of opening Letters of Credit (LOCs) in the name of the manufacturers of the equipment for the power projects, operatives discovered that the LOCs were opened in the name of Rockson.
“Investigation also revealed that instead of the LOCs being put in Form M (tangibles and specifics), they were opened in Form A (intangibles such as school fees, medical bills etc),” he said.
The source promised that the EFCC would do everything within its power to recover the funds and prosecute the indicted officials.