Connect with us

INVESTIGATION

UBA refunds man whose N247, 000 was stolen from his account

Published

on

In a rare act of compassion, never done by any bank before, United Bank for Africa refunded the funds of a middle-aged man who was recently robbed of his entire fund, amounting to N247,000.00.

According to source, it was gathered that the man visited UBA Chevron branch office to complain about being robbed of his phone and he was assisted on how to block his account only for the bank to find out that there was some other vital information that was not given and was necessary to block off his phone from the fraudsters.

The customer who later returned to complain of his funds being stolen was later consoled and given back his entire money by the bank.

This again is a rare act of kindness and compassion never seen by any bank in Nigeria. Similar instances have occurred with many other banks in recent times and their funds were never refunded.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

INVESTIGATION

NBET MD, Marilyn Amobi, enmeshed in multiple corruption allegations

Published

on

Marilyn Amobi, the managing director of the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc, fraudulently paid at least N2 billion naira to two power generating companies, documents obtained by Leaks NG have shown.

The documents also revealed that Mrs. Amobi, who was made the substantive boss of NBET in July 2016, was also involved in a series of corruption allegations such as subversion of board approvals and infraction of procurement laws.

 

Fraudulent payments to GENCOs

A few weeks after she was confirmed as the managing director of NBET, the organisation that manages the electricity pool in the country’s electricity supply industry, Mrs. Amobi started overpaying two power generating companies – Omotosho Electric Genco and Olorunsogo Electric Company – in flagrant violation of the details of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) the companies signed with the government in February and August 2016, respectively.

The PPA is an agreement between NBET and power generating plants for the sale and purchase of energy generated by the plants. Embedded within the PPA are the Gas Supply Agreement (GSA) that covers the supply of natural gas to the generating plant and the Gas Transportation Agreement (GTA), which is an agreement between gas transporters and power generating plants.

According to the PPA, to qualify for full payment, generating plants must provide evidence that they have active GSA and GTA or else the power purchase agreement would be deemed inactive and would only receive payment for the power they supplied.

“Seller (Omotosho Genco) hereby agrees that any claim for Available Capacity payment under the PPA are conditional on the Seller providing evidence acceptable to the Buyer (NBET) confirming that it has a legally binding and enforceable Gas Supply and Aggregation Agreement and Gas Transportation Agreement, in accordance with clause 3.2.2 and 4.2.1 of the PPA,” the agreement obtained by Leaks NG stated.

However, despite the fact that Omotosho did not provide evidence of gas supply aggregation and transportation, the company continued to tender request for full payment 20 months. According to the document in possession of Leaks NG, the over-invoicing was detected in October 2017 following an NBET internal audit.

On September 22, 2016, NBET had written to Omotosho requesting that it fulfills the condition for the PPA. The generating company was first given a 30-day grace to provide the necessary document. The window to provide the document was later extended to 90 day, yet it never provided the document.

For instance, in June 2017, Omotosho supplied energy to the tune of 33.16 megawatts but invoiced up to 161.74 megawatts.

This implies that Omotosho laid claim to an excess of 128.58 megawatts as excess capacity for the cycle.

For this capacity, Omotosho requested for payment of N1,023,532,574 instead of N209,824,177, leaving an excess of N813,708,397 for the capacity in June 2016.

Similarly, Olorunsogo Power Plc, whose PPA took effect from August 2014 in the said month, tendered 11.9 megawatts for energy while 197.83 as capacity. Since the PPA was not active, the capacity ought to be equal to the energy to make the firm qualify for payment as stated in the agreement.

Olorunsogo issued an invoice of N1, 251, 881, 528 for capacity for June 2016 as against N75, 363, 267 calculated by its actual energy. The difference is an over-invoicing of N1, 176, 518, 261.

For both firms, the over-invoicing amounts to N1, 990, 226, 658 as excess in just one month, June 2016.

Leaks NG could not lay hold to all invoices issued by the companies, the two we obtained showed that NBET made partial payments to the companies.

In one of the invoices, Mrs. Amobi paid Omotosho N339, 813, 418 in October 2016. The fund is part payment for July 2016 energy and capacity.

On the same date: October 11, 2016, NBET paid Olorunsogo N372, 498, 731 also as part payment for July.

These payments are clearly in breach of the PPA and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) order of Transitional Stage Electricity Market (TEM).

Order IV of The TEM states that: “Gencos without effective PPAs shall be paid for their delivered energy and delivered capacity by NBET (Delivered capacity for the purposes of this order means the capacity equivalent of the energy delivered at Gencos busbar.”

These illegal payments wouldn’t have been possible without Mr. Amobi’s insistence.

While the Internal Audit of NBET refused to process the payment, Amobi signed the July payment on 13th October 2017 assuming the role of internal audit in violation of financial regulation.

This is a breach of Section 1705 of the financial regulations which states that “the Head of Internal Audit Unit in all ministries/extra-ministerial offices and other arms of government shall ensure that 100 per cent pre-payment audit of all checked and passed vouchers is carried out and the vouchers forwarded under security schedule direct to the appropriate Central Pay Office for payment. Checked and passed vouchers received in the internal audit Unit must be promptly dealt with and, under no circumstances shall a voucher be held in that unit for more than forty-eight (48) hours.”

Illegal payment to law firms

Sometimes in 2014, NBET wrote the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to request the agency sign off on power procurement and retroactive no objection in procurement.

The request simply means that NBET requests to be excluded from being subjected to BPP act in its power purchase agreement. The request was declined by BPP.

In a response dated April 29, 2014, BPP stated that NBET, like other agencies, must follow due procurement process in power procurement.

BPP noted in its reply, “That if section 5 (a) of PPA was intended to exclude some sectors like the Power Sector, it would have been stated clearly. Consequently, giving NBET a one-off approval for NBET’s power procurement process would not only amount to a contravention of the Act, but it would also open a floodgate of similar requests thereby engendering confusion in the system.

“It is pertinent for NBET to note that electricity (being goods) can only be procured within one of the procedures stated in part 42.4 of standard bidding documents.

“The bureau therefore strongly advises that NBET should consult the Public Procurement Regulations, manuals for complex projects and standard bidding documents for procurement of goods, as this would assist NBET in complying with extant procurement rules and regulations.”

However, the management of NBET, then under the leadership of its inaugural Managing Director, Rumundaka Wonodi, was unsatisfied with the position of BPP. The agency sought legal advice on the way forward.

On June 1 2015, NBET advertised a notice for an expression of interest to engage lawyers in such cases, more specifically on BPP’s response.

According to the advert, the successful law firm is expected to discharge such duties as, “General, corporate, commercial and administrative law, with a view to advising NBET on general commercial and contract matters, providing legal opinions as necessary, and advising on various civil law.”

According to a report by NBET’s evaluation committee, three firms: Azinge and Azinge, Chukwuka Ugwu and Associate and John Erameh submitted their bids.

The process was however truncated upon advice by the Internal Audit Department of NBET.

Surprisingly, in April 2017, two years after, the Internal Audit received a request from Mrs. Amobi for payment of N30 million to two firms.

Mrs. Amobi wants Azinge and Azinge to be paid a contract sum of N14 million and Aelex N16 million respectively.

The process that led to this request was one replete with infractions and breach of public procurement law.

It is worthy of note that the procurement process was stopped in 2015 and if there would be a need for the services of law firms in 2017, the process of engagement is supposed to take an entirely new process according to procurement laws.

The BPP act in Section 16(1)(b) states the process of procurement; “based only on procurement plan supported by prior budgetary appropriations and no procurement proceedings shall be formalised until the procuring entity has ensured that funds  are available to meet the obligations and subject to the threshold in the regulations made by the Bureau, has obtained a “Certificate of ‘No Objection’ to Contract Award” from the Bureau.”

There was no new advertisement or procurement process but Mrs. Amobi presented the two firms for payment.

Surprisingly, one of the firms laying claim to payment, Aelex, was not part of the 2015 process, as the firm was not captured in the evaluation report.

Illegal payment to consultant

In 2016, NEXANT, a software and energy firm, engaged a former staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Uzoma Achinaya, to provide advisory and analytics work for NBET.

According to the arrangement, Mr Achinaya would work for NBET for a period, present a report to NEXANT and claim his payment from NEXANT.

This indeed happened but instead of NEXANT to pay the consultant, NBET’s leadership decided to pay him despite not being party of the engagement agreement.

On January 23 2017, Mr. Achinaya wrote Mrs Amobi requesting NBET to pay him the sum of N7 million advance payment for the work he had done so far.

“I refer to the advisory and analytics work that l have done for NBET on the sustainable solutions to the Liquidity Challenges in the Nigerian Electricity industry.

“I appreciate the steps NBET management is taking to resolve the issues with NEXANT regarding my contract which has resulted in the delayed payment of my fees for the services rendered. However, I have some very urgent family commitments, including school fees for my children, which need immediate funding. It will be appreciated if I can be granted a payment advance in the sum of Seven Million Naira (N7, 000, 000.00}, in lieu of the money I am owed for the work already done, to enable me meet some of these commitments.

“The amount should be recovered from my payment when the issues with NEXANT are finally resolved.”

The irregularities in the request were flagged by the Internal Audit, which declined payment to Mr. Achinaya.

The audit department argued that it declined the payment because Mrs Amobi’s N7.5 million request was above her N2.5 approval threshold and that the process of contracting was not subjected to any procurement process.

Internal audit also argued that the consultant does not have a Tax Identification Number (TIN) as stipulated by procurement law, inside sources told Leaks NG.

To bypass the procurement part, Mrs. Amobi allegedly directed the Parastatal Tenders Board of NBET to seek consideration and approval for the requested fund.

The board submitted its report in March claiming that due process was followed in the award of the consultancy contract.

The memorandum for consideration and approval indicated that the bid was opened on March 1, 2017, with a deadline of March 6.

At the end of the process, two individuals were said to have emerged out of five expressions of interest received; Joe Agah with 59.7 total weighted scores and Uzoma Achinaya with 95.1.

The contract was later awarded to Mr. Achinaya at the sum of N25, 850, 000.

Even at that, the board did a shabby job in the cover-up.

The consultant started work in 2016, requested for payment in January 2017 for his ongoing work but the NBET management instituted a post-dated procurement process to make the payment possible.

Transfer of staff without board’s approval

In 2017, Mrs. Amobi made a request to the Accountant-General for officials from his office to be transferred to NBET to head the Internal Audit and Finance departments. Inside sources alleged that she made this request because she felt the officials who headed the department at NBET was standing in her way.

The request was granted in June 2017. The AGF posted Hauwa Bello from the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD) to head the Internal Audit. He also posted Sambo Abdullahi to the Learning and Development, a newly created department at NBET.

Waziri Bintube of the Finance Department was reposted to Risk and Guarantee, another department created by Mrs Amobi allegedly to victimise the two top officials.

A month earlier, Mrs. Amobi had facilitated the transfer of two people, Ajulo Adesola from the national Agency for Science and Engineering (NASENI) and Acho Onyechege from the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to NBET as treasury officers.

Though the new postings were communicated in a letter by AGF on 30 May 2018, they flouted the requirement of NBET charter which places the responsibility of recommending postings within the agency on the Human Resources Committee of NBET.

Section 2.4 (b) of the charter state that the Human Resource Committee shall ‘review and make recommendations to the Board for approval of the Company’s organisational structure and any proposed amendments.’

Although the Accountant-General reserves the authority to approve such reviews, the office does not have the power to make postings.

Amobi evasive, abusive

When contacted to respond to the series of allegations against her, Mrs Amobi, rained abuses Leaks NG reporter.

Without first listening to the reporter’s questions, in in a statement, replete with swear words, the MD she said she would not comment to any of the allegations because the issues are in court.

“If they are things about NBET that are currently in court, there is really no need…some of them are in court. I’m sure some people brought this to you.

“You’ve written a story about us before of us sending some people to America which of course didn’t happen. These are issues that are with EFCC, ICPC and even in the court,” she said.

After calling the reporter many unprintable names, Mrs Amobi ended the call.

 

This report was put together by Leaks.NG, a coalition of news and civil society organisations, which provide a platform for Nigerians to submit evidence of wrongdoing by public office holders in Nigeria. To make a submission, please go on Leaks.NG and follow the simple steps involved.

Continue Reading

INVESTIGATION

Kogi East Senate: PDP candidate, Sen. Aidoko’s dilemma

Published

on

If information filtering in from Kogi State political circle is anything to go by, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Kogi East senatorial candidate in the 2019 election who also is the present lawmaker representing the district at the upper chamber, Senator Attai Aidoko could as well add “former” to his appellations as his greatest challenge appears to be coming from his party, the PDP, on account of his my-money-can-get-it disposition as well as his notoriety for using and dumping party faithful.

A few days ago, he enlisted the Odoma Attah Igala and a few party stalwarts to begin the process of reconciliation with aggrieved party members ahead of the senatorial election in weeks. Aidoko is banking on the Atiku influence and the “level of political literacy” of his people to be victorious. But, times have changed as the other two major contenders and Parties appear to have dug deeper than any reconciliation can abate.

Statistically, all the political parties in Kogi East account for less than 30% of the electorate leaving over 500,000 votes to the decision of the electorates assuming party members will, without question, vote the candidates on their various platforms.

There’s also the issue of constituency loyalty and certain salient understanding on the region to produce the next senator of Kogi East, not on the front burner but very major decider of the voting pattern in the forthcoming senatorial election.

In the final analysis, the senatorial race has become a two-horse one between Dr. Victor Alewo Adoji of the ADC and Alhaji Jibrin Isah aka, Echocho of the APC. Two candidates are strong in their own rights and in the end it comes down to two things: alliances and partnerships across concerns and interests.

As for Senator Aidoko, he has deceit, double-speak and payback to contend with. Whether he’s able to circumvent the imaginary huddles and leverage the acceptability of Atiku, his party’s presidential candidate is left to be seen.

Continue Reading

INVESTIGATION

Ocean Marine exposes Kola Karim’s Shoreline, Eraskorp and the Trans Forcados Pipeline underhand dealings

Published

on

If the indigenous oil industry is a tableau of treachery and cold ruthlessness, the promoters of Ocean Marine Solutions believe that billionaire Kola Karim and his Shoreline Natural Resources Limited and Eraskorp Nigeria Limited embody all that is perfidious and despicable about the industry. And they have good grounds for their belief.

OMS is a leading asset protection company dedicated to protecting Nigeria’s natural resources from graft and illegal activities and has a successful track record of securing strategic national infrastructure and stopping illegal bunkering, vandalism and oil theft. Incorporated inDecember 2010, Shoreline Natural Resources, owned by Karim, acquired 45% stake in Oil Mining Lease 30 (OML). Eraskorp Nigeria Limited, on the other hand, is a multi-service conglomerate, which provides solutions and services across several industries such as power, oil and gas, security agribusiness, infrastructural development and real estate.

What connects the three entities is their operations in the oil sector, particularly the Trans Forcados Pipeline, which is the major trunk line in the Forcados Pipeline System. After the Bonny Oil Pipeline System, the TFP is the second largest network in the Niger Delta, transporting about 200,000 to 240,000 barrels of crude per day equivalent to 14% of Nigeria’s daily production. Thus, the TFP is the key to transporting crude oil from some of Nigeria’s largest and most prolific assets and it is therefore of fundamental national strategic importance.

In recent time, however, the OMS claims that it has been the victim of a crude smear campaign orchestrated by Karim and his cohorts at Eraskorp.

In a strongly-worded reaction to what it terms the outrageous, untrue, defamatory allegations being bandied about its operations, the OMS recalls the genesis of its relationship with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), stating, “After successfully revamping and rehabilitating the Escravos-Warri pipeline, the NNPC approached OMS to replicate the achievement on the Bonny-Port Harcourt pipeline. Our efforts led to the formal re-commissioning of those pipelines on 22 and 23 April 2016 by the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, and the immediate past Group Managing Director, NNPC. Since April 2016, we have delivered 60,177,843 barrels of oil (and counting) to both refineries without any loss to the nation.”

The company made it clear that; “OMS did not seek out the TFP security and surveillance contract. We were approached and invited to render our services because of the dire security situation and because we have a reputation for delivering results… OMS has pioneered a lasting solution in the quest for a cost-effective and operationally efficient method of supplying Nigeria’s refineries with crude oil feedstock for local refining and consumption. We have shown that Nigeria does not have to accept failure.”

Before the OMS, Eraskorp was the contractor in charge of surveillance and security of the TFP. It was during its time that the TFP reportedly suffered huge crude oil losses of over 11 million barrels on the line and 60 days downtime (a value of $800million) due to the TFP’s vulnerability and several illegal valve insertions from which oil thieves and vandals conduct their nefarious activities.Based on this, the NNPC severed the relationship with Eraskorp, stating, “The decision to assign the TFP surveillance package to Ocean Marine Solutions was reached after consideration of huge losses on TFP and rigorous appraisal of the company’s impressive record of performance on the Bonny-Port Harcourt and Warri-Escravos Crude Oil evacuation lines.”

However, in what the OMS described as a desperate quest to malign and create public disaffection against it, Eraskorp alleged that the NNPC awarded and re-awarded several surveillance and security contracts to the company for a total sum of $9.9 million per month; “This assertion is not only a fallacy but also a deliberate misrepresentation of facts as OMS currently manages and is in contract only on the Escravos – Warri and Bonny – Port Harcourt pipelines.”

Also reacting to the allegation that the security contract for TFP was awarded to OMS against the wise counsel of all stakeholders in OML 30, the JV Partners, Operators and 111 communities in the oil field, the company stated, “This is untrue. The claim that the TFP contract offered to OMS is three times that of the Eraskorp contract is false, baseless and unfounded. In any event, you cannot compare apples and oranges. The deployment structure, scope, terms and conditions of the proposed contract to OMS differs in all ramifications to that of the Eraskorp agreement. Contrary to the false assertion put about by Eraskorp and others that pipeline security and surveillance contracts awarded to OMS by NNPC did not follow due process, it is pertinent to state that the contract followed due process and complied with the relevant provisions of the Public Procurement Act.”

Meanwhile, the NNPC has publicly declared that there is nothing illegal in respect of the security contracts awarded to OMS for the provision of security and maintenance services for the Escravos-Warri and Bonny-Port Harcourt pipelines: “It is pertinent to note that the TFP contract is not subject to the provisions of the Public Procurement Act (PPA) 2017 by virtue of Section 15 (1) (b) of the PPA.”

The OMS stated further, “All our contracts from the IOCs and NPDC (NNPC) have fully followed the due process in line with international competitive bidding; the “Proof of Concept” or “The Cure and Pay” model which has been our modus operandi and hardly found in the oil and gas industry, creating uncommon values for clients.It has remained the duty of OMS to effectively protect and maintain these pipelines whether the refineries are working or not as abandoning them will make them revert to their once deplorable state. OMS contract is on a fixed cost element so long as the line is protected.”

When the subterfuge and smear campaign did not work, the OMS said the players re-strategised. “We also have on record several requests from Kola Karim to meet with Capt (Dr) Idahosa Okunbo which were declined as well as unethical offers made to OMS by Kola Karim on behalf of Eraskorp’s Maxwell Okoh and Morris Idiovwa. It must also be stated that the Executive Chairman and vision bearer of OMS – Capt (Dr) Idahosa Okunbo – is a man of great integrity, who has served the oil industry for about 30 years without any blemish. Never been called for questioning, interrogated or indicted by any government security agent over the conduct of his businesses in the oil and gas industry.

While raising posers as to why Nigerians and the federal government particularly should be wary of the antics and activities of Karim and his co-travellers, the OMS stated that it has not even signed the contract that was presented to it by the NNPC due to the controversies that have been generated and its resolve never to work in terrains where its intentions are misrepresented. “However, it is notable that the TFP Proof of Concept contract proposed to OMS is premised on a structured security plan and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Under the proposed contract, OMS is obligated to protect the lines and is accountable if there is any breach to the pipeline and losses of crude. This arrangement is completely different from the old order where the contractor (Eraskorp) is paid for surveillance duties and totally exempted from repair costs or any other form of responsibility in the event of any break or breach to the pipeline for which the company has been contracted to watch over. In this way, the new contract will no longer reward failure.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending