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Reps report indicts Marilyn Amobi, outgoing NBET boss of financial misconducts, procurement breach

A report by the House of Representatives Committee on Power has indicted Marilyn Amobi, the outgoing Managing Director of Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) of financial misconduct and procurement breaches

The report titled, “Review of Petitions received by the House Committee on Power in January 2020,” highlighted the various infractions committed by the outgoing NBET boss and recommendations by the Committee.

Magaji Aliyu, Chairman of the Committee, in his submission to the Speaker of the H0use of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said  copies of the report have been sent to every member of NBET’s Board of Directors.

He disclosed that the focus of the investigation was on NBET projects carried out between 2018 and 2019, based on allegations in the petitions received by the committee.

Amobi was appointed substantive Managing Director of NBET in July 2016 and has been enmeshed in various corruption scandals in the past few years.

The report noted that she was invited by the Chairman Senate Committee on Power, over a foreign trip to Washington DC for five days to participate in meeting on investments in the power sector between October 14 to 19, 2019.

She was reimbursed  to the tune of N3.9 million and also collected $600 per day for nine days which totalled $5,400.

The monies were claimed for the trip as cost of the business return ticket to Washington DC and payment of per diem which was initiated in a memo by one Nene Oiza Isa.

However, the investigations by the House Committee revealed that Amobi proceeded on a trip to Washington DC on 10, October 2019 and departed for London on 13, October 2019, based on travel ticket details issued by Travel Gallery Limited via email before she returned to Nigeria on 18, October 2019.

Despite, failing to complete her official stay in the US, she collected an excess of $3,000 and also overpaid herself on a flight ticket to the tune of N1.7 million but the invoice document with invoice number 004770 obtained from her travel agent showed that her total expenses was N2.2 million.

The report revealed that in August 2019, Amobi authorised the approval for payment of N1.7 million as monthly allowances to  four Department of Security Services (DSS) officers and nine police officers as routine payment without the approval of NBET’s board of directors.

The House Committee also denounced the payment memo approved for the police officers which was initiated by one Itohan Ehiede, on 19, August 2019 as well as the monthly payment of N100,000 to a unit Commander, Achir Orkuma Shagari,  who was not part of the immediate security team at NBET’s premises.

It noted that the monthly payment of allowances for the security personnel violates the provisions of the approved NBET Human Resources policy that stipulates that, “inward seconded remain an employee of the donor organisation and remains subject to their terms and conditions”.

Under Amobi’s watch, NBET spent N100.5 million between October and September 2019 on the purchase of Toyota Fortuner for N30 million, Toyota Camry at N29.9 million and three Toyota Corolla at a unit rate N13.5 million each which amounts to N40.6 million, the report revealed.

The Committee stated the action breached the Ministerial Tenders Board, (MTB) which is under the purview of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approving threshold for the procurement of goods in the excess of N100 million breaching the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

Amobi was also indicted for usurping FEC’s authority by approving N30 million under the Parastatals Tenders Board (PTB) and concealing it from the MTB to bypass FEC’s approval in procuring the vehicles.

It also noted that the user department’s request and report of the maintenance challenges of existing vehicles was not attached.

In December 2019, the report noted that Amobi had approved the procurement of Information Technology, IT, related items at N93 million from different vendors for its office use but some of the items were already included in its N650 million spending in 2018 when NBET staff moved to a two floors office space.

The lawmakers report also indicted Amobi for spending N112 million in engaging lawyers to institute libel against media houses when most of the issues were related to her person and not the electricity firm, NBET between October and December 2019 without the approval of the Attorney General of the Federation.

Cited in the report, specifically, was Orchid Chambers which was contracted to review NBET’s contract templates at the sum of N15 million, but there was no evidence of a copy of the existing template or refined copies attached to a particular contract document.

Amobi engaged the services of “Messrs Dikko and Mahmud to defend NBET in a lawsuit instituted by an aggrieved staff but wrote two letters dated 18 April and 23, May 2019, to the Attorney General of the Federation on the same case with a different amount of N12 million and N15 million respectively,” a section of the report reads.

In February 2019, she was alleged to have paid at least N2 billion to two power generating companies and made controversial payments to law firms and other consultants in disregard for the Public Service Financial Regulations and extant laws.

Nigeria’s main anti-graft agencies, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent and Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) including the auditor-general had found Amobi culpable of maladministration.

Sale Mamman, the Minister for Power, in December 2019 had suspended Amobi in a bid to reshuffle the Federal Ministry of Power and its sister agencies but she was eventually reinstated by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In June, the Federal Government officially announced her tenure as the Managing Director of NBET won’t be renewed before temporarily replacing her with Nnaemeka Eweluka, the company’s General Counsel and Secretary.

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