N13.8 Billion Fraud: Dino Melaye Wants Manitoba Probed

Dino Melaye talking to the media shortly after submitting the report
Dino Melaye talking to the media shortly after submitting the report

Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory, Dino Melaye, wants the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to probe Manitoba Hydro International Nigeria Limited for alleged abuse of Public Procurement Act and diversion of funds amounting to N13.8 billion.

The Kogi State lawmaker submitted a petition to this effect to the EFCC in which he alleged that the company was awarded a 3-year management contract to oversee the Transmission Company of Nigeria‎, TCN, assets and liabilities after the privatisation and unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria to Generating Companies and Distribution Companies by the Bureau of Public Enterprises in March 2012.

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

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According to him, investigations conducted uncovered several economic and financial crimes committed by Manitoba‎ and also outright disregard of best practices in TCN.

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

“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.

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“The award of contract verbatim at the cost of N893,000,000 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.”

The controversial Senator said that Manitoba contravened the terms of contract it signed with the BPE by failing to ensure ‎probity, accountability and transparency in the management of the TCN, as well as its failure to audit TCN’s account since assumption.

Melaye, who noted that this has led to irregularities in the Market Operations Sector, further stressed that the management contract requires the company to expand the TCN’s wheeling capacity to 6000 megawatts, which was never realised.

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He‎ said 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 megawatts presently.

Melaye, therefore, called on the anti-graft agency to launch an investigation into the activities of the company, while also calling on the federal government to debar the company due to several contraventions of the BPE Act 2007.

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