house of reps; ndphc

The House of Representatives has directed its Committee on Power to investigate reports that the Niger Delta Power Holding Company – NDPHC diverted $9 billion which it received from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for priority projects including the construction of 10 power plants, into other areas.

The company is also being accused of selling National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) assets, including power plants, in addition to awarding numerous inflated contracts without due process.

The committee is expected to conduct an investigative hearing involving all relevant stakeholders to identify any constitutional breaches and ascertain the veracity of reported infractions by the NDPHC and report back to the House within six weeks for further legislative action.

The resolutions were reached following a motion sponsored by Hon. Mark Terseer Gbillah (Benue APC) who alleged that the company had continued to pay outrageous amounts as wayleave payments to communities with significant cost implications to the government.

Gbillah said the company which manages the utilisation of over $12 billion already approved by the National Assembly and the National Council of State since its incorporation in 2005, does not submit its annual budget and project plans for appropriation by the National Assembly.

“While it generates an operating surplus which cannot be determined because it is neither divulged nor paid into the coffers of the federal government but rather expended by the company without legislative approval,” the lawmaker added.

“Also alarmed at the lack of completion of the 10 power plants awarded by the NDPHC since 2006, though a few of the plants have been completed and handed over since 2010 but a local contractor, Rockson Engineering has refused to hand over four power plants it was awarded in controversial circumstances and appears to be holding the federal government to ransom over the completion of the plants while the equipment and infrastructure continue to experience wear and tear due to the protracted delay,” Gbillah added.

The lawmaker expressed worry that the NDPHC appears to believe that it is only accountable to the Office of the Vice President and has therefore refused to subject itself to the oversight and appropriation roles of the National Assembly while its actions and in-actions have adversely affected the power requirements of the country.
In a similar development, the sub- committee investigating the status of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and the sale of all non core assets began its work yesterday.

Inaugurating the committee, the Chairman of the Committee on Public Procurement, Hon. Wole Oke, listed the terms of reference to include the determination of the methodology used for the liquidation of the assets, and whether such assets were well valued.

Oke added that the sub-committee chaired by Hon. Jonathan Gaza Gbewfi (Nassarawa PDP) is expected to determine whether the funds realised from the sale of the properties were remitted to government coffers.

Gbewfi conceded that the investigation is an enormous one when considering the thousands of properties under the former PHCN, scattered all around the country.

He, however, noted that the committee is up to the task and would deliver on its mandate with the required time.

The House on October 20, 2016 had mandated its Committees on Power, Public Procurement, and Privatisation and Commercialisation to investigate and sale of all non core assets under the PHCN regime.


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