Nigeria Short-Changed by N15bn in Power Assets Lease – Reps

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Nigeria has lost about N15 billion due to under leases, unauthorised sales, misappropriation of funds, abuse of processes and outright negligence in the handling of non-core assets of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), a House of Representatives panel has said.

The subcommittee of three standing committees of the House investigating the sale of PHCN non-core assets chaired by Rep Jonathan Gaza (PDP, Nasarawa) said in Abuja yesterday that many of the PHCN non-core assets, transferred to the Nigeria Electricity Management Company (NELMCO) were leased at undervalued rates, while others were “gifted out to distribution companies and some even diverted.”

The three main committees are power, privatization and commercialization and public procurement. The subcommittee said the N15bn loss was too much considering Nigeria’s present financial status.

“It will interest you to note that a conservative investigation has revealed monumental losses to the government and the people of Nigeria in excess of about N15 billion as a result of under leases, unauthorised sales, misappropriation of funds, abuse of process and outright negligence,” Gaza said.

He said the panel would recover the lost revenues under the liquidation process and employ other measures to save the country from further financial losses.

Meanwhile, the Director General of the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), Alex Okoh, told the panel that although the process for the sale of the non-core assets began sometime ago, it was put on hold due to non-approval from the National Council on Privatization (NCP).

He said all due processes were followed in engaging the valuers for the assets sale and even got the approval from the vice president, but that they could not continue.

“To our best of knowledge, the sale has not been carried out because we’re waiting for the final approval by the National Council of Privatization,” he said.

Similarly, the Managing Director of NELMCO, Adebayo Nathaniel Fagbemi, told the lawmakers that all the listed assets were properly audited but that the sales have not commenced.

Source: Daily Trust

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