An insider told newsmen last night that the emergency board meeting was called as a result media report that alleged that ‘’the company was being used as a conduit to siphon public funds’’, especially when it was discovered that NBET Plc was allocated N7.68 billion in 2021 budget – for projects outside its mandates.
It was alleged that there was N630 million in its 2021 budget to buy transformers; a budget for “electrifying communities across the country” — a project that ought to have been handled by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) charged with the responsibility of electrification of rural and unserved communities.
In the same budget, the NBET also allegedly proposed to provide 500KVA transformers for Uwan and selected communities in various states at the cost of N150 million; supply and installation of transformers in selected areas of Gombe North senatorial district at the cost of N100 million; N50 million for provision of 500KVA/11 and 300KVA/11 at different locations in Dawakintofa/Rimin Gado/Tofa, Kano State.
Other items NBET allegedly got approval for in 2021 budget to execute include, electrification of Nasarawa Toto, North Central zone at the cost of N30 million and electrification of Gudus, Nyalun, Kunkyam, Yuli and other selected communities in Plateau State at the tune of N300 million.
Newsmen gathered that even though these projects were outside NBET’s mandate, the company was alleged to have requested the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to approve the award of the contracts.
However, one of the board members told newsmen that some of them got to know about the issues through an online newspaper report, and wondered how those items got into the budget of a company with only mandate of buying power from the generating companies (GenCos) and selling to the distribution companies (DisCos).
‘’I don’t know why people don’t learn from history. Recently, an anti-corruption agency, the Independent Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) came after MDAs who allocated monies for things that were outside their mandates.
‘’It was well publicised. I would have thought that the fear of ICPC would have served as a deterrent to the top management staff of NBET not to consider this alleged enticement from the National Assembly’’, the source stated.
The board member wondered how NBET planned to ‘’scoop out the monies’’ from the company and begins to electrify communities and buy transformers when it is outside its mandate.
“This type of scandal has never happened before. Some members of National Assembly will always come after chief executives of MDAs who they believe do not understand what they should be doing.
‘’And I wonder how this could have happened given that the Chairman of the Board of NBET is the Hon Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning; the Director-General (DG), Budget, is a board member and the Director-General, Debt Management Office, is also on the Board of NBET. We also have the Director-General of Bureau of Public Procurement, as the Vice Chairman of NBET.
‘’I also wonder how NBET will electrify communities across the country when it is not part of its mandate. Maybe there’s something that I don’t know. So I don’t know whether NBET’s role has changed to the extent that it now performs some aspects of the role of the REA.’’
The board member suggested that given that NBETs license is due for renewal, adding that it will be necessary for NERC to modify NBET’s licence to enable it begin to purchase and distribute transformers as well electrify communities.
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