- EFCC, ICPC To Probe $16b Power Project
The Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to probe top officials of Federal Ministry of Power.
AMCON alleged that the Ministry paid the sum of $8.5 billion since 2005 out of the $16billion budgeted for the project to a UK Firm, Rockson International Group Limited whose parent company in Nigeria is currently indebted to the Federal Government and in receivership.
According to reports, AMCON wrote a letter to the Federal Ministry of Power disclosing how top officials in the ministry allegedly conspired to make the payment to the UK company instead of paying it to the Nigerian National Integrated Power Project (NIPP).
In the letter signed by the Managing Director, Ahmed Kuru and Group Head, Enforcement, Joshua Ikioda, the agency expressed fears that the Kaduna Power Project might be stalled as a result of the “strange payment.”
AMCON letter reads: “Please refer to our letter ref. no. AMC/ABJ/ENG/19/1456/JTA/40729 dated January 18, 2019 and sundry correspondences in the same regard.
“The appointment of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) as Receiver Manager of Rockson Engineering Limited (RECL) and the reasons for the actions were conveyed to your Ministry vide our letters September 24, 2018 and January 18, 2019, respectively.
“Most importantly, this appointment was made for the purpose of supporting the Federal Government’s Power Sector development efforts.
“The reason for the appointment of the Receiver Manager was made clear in the Receiver’s letter dated September 24, 2018, in which you were informed that RECL had persistently failed to meet its financial obligations to AMCON which stood at over N121.55billion as at August 31, 2018.
“The company’s indebtedness is directly attributable to weak governance practices and mismanagement which resulted in the company’s abysmal failure to discharge its contractual obligations of completing the NIPP and Kaduna Power Projects.
“To make matters worse for the projects, Rockson International Group Limited, UK (RIGL), the offshore company engaged to carry our procurement and services in collaboration is fully owned and operated by the same shareholders and directors as Rockson Engineering Company Limited.
“The offshore company is similarly bedevilled by weak governance practices and mismanagement resulting in huge outstanding offshore claims by contracting parties.
“The unwholesome activities of both RECL and RIGL are currently under criminal investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).”
AMCON’s investigation revealed that EUR4,150,479.71 (about N1.68b) was paid in six tranches.
However, EFCC has begun an investigation to unveil why the ministry paid the N1.68 billion directly to the indebted contractor instead of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) which is in charge of all NIPP projects.
A source in EFCC confirmed that AMCON petition is under investigation, the source said: “Our detectives have started looking into who authorized the payment, why normal payment channel was sidelined and why AMCON was sidelined.
“What those in charge did was to split the payment into tranches which investigators are curious to know.”
“We are already engaged in internal investigation of how the payment came about. All those implicated will face the wrath of the law,” a top official of the ministry.”