Manitoba: Melaye writes EFCC, demands investigation of N13.8bn fraud

ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – The chairman, Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and promoter of Anti-Corruption Network, Senator Dino Melaye, has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to commence investigation of Manitoba Hydro International Nigeria Limited, over alleged abuse of Public Procurement Act and diversion of funds amounting to N13.8 billion.
While handing over the letter of petition to the Director of Public Affairs of EFCC, Mr. Osita Nwaja, at its headquarters on Friday in Abuja, Melaye stressed that it was the desire of the anti-corruption group to ensure ‎that economic and financial crimes were duly investigated and prosecuted.

He said the company was awarded a management contract to oversee the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN)‎ assest and liabilities after the privatisation and unbundling of Power Holding Company of Nigeria to generating companies (GENCOs) and distribution companies (DISCOs) by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) in March, 2012 for a term of three years.

Melaye revealed that the cost of the contract was first awarded for $30 million and was subsequently renewed ‎for one more year at the cost of $5.2 million, adding that TCN has over 8000km of 330kv line and 12000km of 12kv connecting many substations within Nigeria.

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Against this background, he disclosed that investigations conducted uncovered several economic and financial crimes committed by Manitoba‎ and also outright disregard of best practices in TCN.

Melaye stated: “In 2015, the company fraudulently diverted funds transferred to the tensions for the 2015 trace maintenance.

“The company was involved in splitting of contract to avoid TCN Tenders Board and Ministerial Tenders Board as observed in the case of contract of repairs of telecommunications equipment and power stations: 340kv substations (S1 and S2) which amounts to N247,061,796 and N248,859,350 respectively.

“The awarded of contract verbatim at the cost of 893,000,000 for repair of telecommunications equipment and remote terminal units associated with PHCN (legacy) power stations and TCN 330kv. Though the contract sum was fully paid but there is no evidence that the contract was executed,” Melaye‎ said.

The senator emphasised that the failure of the company to ensure ‎probity, accountability and transparency in the management of TCN, as well as its failure to audit TCN’s account since assumption was in contravention of the terms of contract signed between the company and BPE.

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This, he noted, has no doubt led to irregularities in the Market Operations Sector.

According to him, the management contract required the company to expand the TCN’s wheeling capacity to 6,000 megawatts which was never realised.

Melaye‎ said that TCN’s performance under the management of the company has fallen so low that the company inherited 4000 megawatts and has now dropped to 1500 presently.
He therefore called on the anti-graft agency to launch am investigation into the activities of the company, while urging the federal government to prohibit the company due to several contraventions of the BPE Act 2007.

When contacted, spokesman of the EFCC, Mr. ‎Wilson Uwujaren, said as an anti-graft body they were duty bound to investigate petitions sent to it.

He did not specifically state if the petition submitted by Melaye would be given speedy investigation. “We receive petitions from time to time and we investigate,” he said.

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