PTF Fraud: How N25 Billion was stolen under Buhari’s watch Posted by Odedina Taofeek

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The Petroleum Trust Fund was inaugurated by the Abacha administration in March 1995 and General Muhammadu Buhari was appointed to head the Fund which was formed sequel to the increase in the pump price of petrol to N 11 from N 3.25. The then Head of State, Gen Abacha had said then that the Fund was to distribute the gain from the increased price on social and infrastructural projects.

The Fund started work with an initial capital of about N60b in 1996 with a mandate that included the rehabilitation of roads and waterways, educational and health institutions, providing textbooks and stationery, procuring essential drugs and vaccines, providing water supply systems, reviving crumbling agricultural sectors, connecting outlying areas to the national electricity grid, extending railways and telecommunications and ensuring consistent food supply.

Buhari often referred to as Mai Gaskiya (the honest one) was apparently considered for the job mainly because of the qualities he possessed, with the Abacha led government feeling that would douse the tension generated by the increase in fuel prices. With time however, allegations started flying that the PTF was no more than another avenue for the Abacha administration to siphon funds.

On assumption of office in 1999, Chief Obasanjo disbanded the PTF. One of the discoveries made by the administration was that between its inception and July, 1999, the funds that accrued to the PTF stood at N 181 billion. It was also found out that the Consultants appointed by the Executive Chairman of the Trust Fund, Gen Buhari constantly fleeced the country of funds running into billions.

In 2000, the Obasanjo administration set up an Interim Management Committee to take a look into the affairs of the Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund and ascertain among other things, how much has been spent by the PTF so far and what is on ground to justify the huge expenditure. The Committee the set to work and accomplished all the terms of reference by March 2000. The Interim Management Committee submitted that:

Term of Reference No 1:
The Interim Management Committee has already ascertained the total income that has accrued to PTF from its inception to date. The total amount that has accrued to PTF is N 181, 795, 000, 000 (One hundred and eighty one billion, seven hundred and ninety five million Naira). The report for the ascertainment of accrued income has been completed.

Term of Reference No 2
Independent Consultants were commissioned by the Interim Management Committee to ascertain the state of all the bank accounts operated by the Petroleum Special Trust Fund from its inception up to September, 1999.

All the assignments have been completed and all the reports submitted. An Executive Summary was prepared and a total of N 3, 642, 982, 280 (Three billion, six hundred and forty two million, nine hundred and eighty two thousand, two hundred and eighty Naira) was found to be recoverable from various banks, due to excess charges, under payment of interest on fixed term deposits and non-payment of interest on current account balances, as stipulated by Central Bank of Nigeria guidelines.

Terms of Reference No 3
The Petroleum Special Trust Fund intervened in, prepared and packaged, ready for transfer to the appropriate line ministry

(b) Food Supply Sector All the necessary verification work have been concluded for projects and programmes and reports already supplied by independent consultants. The programme is already in the process of being transferred to the appropriate ministry, as per the approval given by Mr President.

(c) Education Sector  i) Educational Materials Procurement Programme: The verification of the entire programme has already been done and the process of handing over the whole programme to the appropriate beneficiaries has reached an advance stage as directed by Mr President ii) Rehabilitation of Educational Institutions: The services of various consultants have been used to carry out the technical audit of all the projects throughout the country and a comprehensive up to date report has already been completed by the co-ordinating consultants. The preparation of an Executive Summary has reached an advanced stage.

(d) Health Sector: (i) Drug Revolving Fund: The drug revolving fund programme has been thoroughly verified and all available stocks have been transferred to the various state governments. As per the directive of Mr President (ii) Rehabilitation of Health Institutions: The programme for the rehabilitation of Health Institutions throughout the country has been verified and a comprehensive up to date status report prepared. And Executive Summary for the attention of Mr President is being prepared.

(e) Water Supply Sector: All projects and programmes under this sector have been thoroughly verified in compliance with the terms of reference No 3. A comprehensive and up to date report has already been completed.

(f) Other Project Sector: The projects under the sector which were commenced have already been completed. The rest of the projects are yet to commence. The report stating the above mentioned up to date status of all projects under this sector has already been completed.

Terms Of Reference No 4

(i)  The audited account of the fund as at 30th June, 1999 stating the Assets and Liabilities of the Petroleum Special Trust Fund has already been prepared by the KPMG Audit, a firm of Chartered Accountants. (ii) The Audited Accounts of the fund as at 31st December, 1999 stating the Assets and Liabilities of the fund has already been prepared by Pricewaterhouse Coopers Audit, a firm of Chartered Accountants. (iii) The Audited Accounts of the Fund for the month commencing January, 2000 to June 30th 2000 is to commence when the IMC was replaced. This would have given the asset and liabilities of the Fund at the end of the terms of the former IMC.
Terms Of Reference No 5

The present administrative structure was carefully examined and the best option is to transfer each departmental staff operating a project sector to the appropriate ministry where the projects are transferred. This will reduce hardship on the staff and also will enhance the capacity of the ministry concerned for it to cope with the additional responsibility.

Terms of Reference No 6 and 7
The former IMC has undertaken a thorough technical audit of all projects and programmes using well experienced independent consultants. In the process of the technical audit, the sanctity of all contracts agreement was upheld and all costs were evaluated to a realistic level. The value of work done up to date has been ascertained and the estimated cost of completion has also been calculated. The appropriate ministry that will be responsible for the completion of any project may further negotiate the time and cost of completion of any project.

As it has been enumerated above, all the terms of reference given to the former IMC has already been virtually completed. The handing over of projects to respective ministries has already commenced. The former IMC would have completed the winding down of the activities of the Petroleum Special Trust Fund as directed by Mr President by the end of June, 2000.

The total public funds to be recovered from various contractors, banks and consultants amounted to about Twenty five billion, seven hundred and fifty eight million five hundred and thirty two thousand four hundred and forty eight Naira.

Below is the Executive Summary of various reports of the independent consultants on verification exercise which resulted in the funds recoveries.

Members of The Interim Management Committee Are As Follows:
Dr. Haroun Adamu (Chairman), Alhaji Abdu Abdurrahim, Barrister Achana Gaius Yaro, Arc Edward Eguavoen, Mr. T. Andrew Adegboro, Engr Baba Goni Machina

Report On The Amount To Be Recovered From Some PTF Projects And Programmes
The Interim Management Committee was appointed by Mr President. One of the terms of reference of their appointment is to carry out verification exercise on all projects and programmes prior to packaging the projects and programmes for subsequent transfer to the appropriate line ministries. The recoverable exercises of the under-listed projects were completed and the various reports and the IMC recommendations forwarded to President Obasanjo for further directives.

The Listed Projects Are –
(i) Afriproject Consortium (APC) PTF Management Consultants and also Project Consultants (ii) PTF intervention in the HIV/AIDS Programme (iii) PTF Health Sector Intervention inputs (iv) PTF Prevalent cases of expiring drugs all over the country (v) PTF residential estate development on Plot 780 Cadastral Zone  A8, Abuja FCT (vi) PTF Head Office extension contract at Airport Road, Abuja (vii) PTF-Bank accounts operated from inception to 31st December 1999.

AFPRI- Project Consortium (APC) Afri-Project Consortium were contracted by PTF as Management Consultants and Project Consultants. The former Chairman of PTF also delegated to them the power of Engineer in all appropriate project requiring such power. Afriproject Consortium then assumed an absolute power of initiation, approval and execution of all projects.

Three reputable management consulting firms were engaged to verify all payments made to (APC) from the inception of PTF up to 30th September, 1999. On verification it was found that they have over charged PTF for their services to the tune of N 2, 057, 550, 062 (Two billion fifty seven million five hundred and fifty thousand and sixty two Naira only).

(ii) PTF Assisted HIV/ AIDS Programmes : The intervention of PTF in the HIV/AIDS was flawed due to professional negligence by the management consultants. There was an excessive order of HIV/AIDS kits which resulted in most of the kits expiring before use. Also there was gross inflation of the purchase price. The two factors combined resulted in a loss of N 579,000,000 (Five hundred and seventy nine million Naira only).

(iii) PTF Intervention Programmes : PTF intervention in the health sector input programmes totalled to about N 9 billion Naira. The projects were executed by the management consultants and PTF in-house staff. In this sector there are three glaring areas of loss: (a) Purchase of specific frames which was done at N 1,900 each while they can be purchased locally at a price between N 80 and N 880. This resulted in total loss of N 45, 270,000 (b) Purchase of ambulances which was done at N 13,000,000 each instead of the price of N 3,000,000 each. This resulted in total loss of N 900,000,000 (Nine hundred million Naira only). (c) Purchase of drugs was done to the tune of N 3.08 billion. Price inflation and expiring of drugs resulted in a loss to PTF of about N 1, 500, 000,000 ( one billion, five hundred million Naira).

(iv) PTF Prevalence Expiring Drugs All Over The Country: A team of Pharmacists were commissioned to verify the Drugs Revolving Fund Programmes. Their findings were very depressing. A huge loss has been incurred by PTF as enumerated below:- (a) Drugs and consumables worth N 817, 831,723 (Eight hundred and seventeen million, eight and thirty one thousand seven hundred and twenty three Naira only) were found to have expired by October, 1999 (b) another quantity of drugs worth N 94, 741, 517 expired in December, 1999 (c) drugs worth N 233, 416, 829 will expire by March 2000 (d) Drugs worth N 461, 255,073 will expire by June 2000 (e) Drugs worth N 429, 117, 861 will expire by September, 2000 (f) Drugs worth N 1, 196, 276, 052 will expire by October- December, 2000.

There were many cases of deterioration of drugs as a result of faulty manufacturing, inappropriate packaging, improper storage and excess stock.

(v) PTF Residential Estate: The involvement of PTF in Residential Estate    Development was out of its intervention sphere. As at now, the estate has been confiscated by government. The contract sum is N 703, 815, 416 (Seven hundred and three million, eight hundred and fifteen thousand four hundred and sixteen Naira only) while after verification, the whole project was valued at N 328, 901, 521 (Three hundred and Twenty Eight Million nine hundred and one thousand, five hundred and twenty one Naira only). There was an inflation of the contract to the tune of N 374, 913, 895 (Three hundred and seventy four million, nine hundred and thirteen thousand eight hundred and ninety five Naira only).

(vi) PTF Headquarters Extension: The IMC Commissioned Consultants to determine the current construction cost of the on-going extension at the headquarters office. The current construction cost determined by the Consultant came to N 326, 207, 861 (Three hundred and twenty six million, two hundred and seven thousand, eight hundred and sixty one Naira only) as against a contract sum of N 461, 216, 759 (Four hundred and sixty one million, two hundred and sixteen thousand, seven hundred and fifty nine Naira only) this resulted in contract sum inflation of N 135, 008, 879 (One hundred and thirty five million, eight thousand eight hundred and seventy nine Naira only).

(vii) Bank Accounts Operated By PTF From Inception To December 31, 1999: Various Consultants were commissioned to verify the Bank accounts operated by PTF from inception of the Fund up to 31st December, 1999. The Fund operated its bank accounts under three different categories viz- (a) Administration Account (b) Project Account (c) Treasury Account. Recoveries to be made from the various banks are as follow:

(a)    Administration Account Total Amount recoverable is N 664, 415, 793 (Six hundred and sixty four million, four hundred and fifteen thousand seven hundred and ninety three Naira only). This is mainly due to overcharge on Cost of Turnover (COT), non-payment of interest on current account balances as stipulated by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other various discrepancies.

(b)   Project Account On project Account, total amount recoverable is N 2, 467, 817, 167 (Two billion, four hundred and sixty seven million, eight hundred and seventeen thousand, one hundred and sixty seven Naira only). This is made up mainly from overcharge of Cost of Turnover (COT), non-payment of interest on Current Account balances as stipulated by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other various discrepancies.

(c)    Treasury Account All the Treasury Accounts were verified and amount to be recovered is N 510, 749, 323 (Five hundred and ten million, seven hundred and forty nine thousand, three hundred and twenty three Naira only). This is mainly due to short-payment of interest on deposited funds. (See Box A).

The total sum of N 11, 658, 532, 448 (Eleven billion, six hundred and fifty eight million, five hundred and thirty two thousand four hundred and forty eight Naira only) is recoverable as per various reports completed as at now.

1.Other Potential Areas Of Fund Recovery : Road (Highways and Urban Roads) The PSTF uses about 70% of its income on highways and Urban Road Projects. In this project sector, there was total variation of contract sums of N 68,000,000,000 (Sixty eight billion Naira). These variations were not done with properly priced bills of quantities and approved civil contracts procedure as stipulated by government regulations. Taking the experience of what has been discovered after verification of previous contracts awarded by PSTF, the minimum potential recovery will be about 15%. This estimated percentage will be about N 10, 000, 000 (Ten billion Naira). The verification of this project sector was about to take off when the IMC members were replaced.

2. Rural Water Supply Programme The area of potential fund recoveries under this programme are basically two :-  (i) Mobilisation paid to contractors who by now have not even commenced work (ii) Over pricing of contracts. The amount to be recovered from this project sector can be conservatively estimated at N 1,000,000,000 (One billion Naira).

The detail verification report on this programme has already been completed. The executive summary of this report was in the process of compilation when the IMC members were replaced.

3. National Health and Educational Institutions Rehabilitation Programme The detail verification exercise on this sector has already been completed by various independent Consultants. The executive summary for total amounts recoverable is now in the process of being compiled. The conservative estimate of amount recoverable due to non-performance of contractors and over-pricing of contract is about N 600,000,000 (Six hundred million Naira).

4. National Educational Material Procurement Programme This programme entails the purchase of educational materials such as text books, exercise books, chalk, dusters, pencils, biro, magazines, maps etc. The verification exercise of this programme is yet to commence. The conservative estimate of recoveries to be made due to non-performance by contractors and inflation of prices will be in the region of N 900,000,000 (Nine hundred million Naira).

5. Rural Telecommunication Programme The Rural Telecommunication Programme was supposed to be carried out in two phases viz: – (i) Pilot programme (ii) The main programme. The main programme was to commence after the pilot programme has been completed and certified as operational, but mobilisation of N 1, 600,000 (One billion, six hundred million Naira) was paid to the contractors for the main programme without any contract being signed at all.

In view of the government policy at present, the full amount of the mobilization paid can be recovered (i.e N 1,600,000,000), See Box B

The Committee recommended that the total recoverable amount can be used to offset some of the outstanding debts because some of the creditors are contractors from whom these amounts are to be recovered. It also recommended that the President may wish to set up a high powered judicial panel to recover the huge public fund and to take the necessary action against any officer, consultant or contractor whose negligence resulted in this colossal loss of public funds.

The Interim Management Committee Members who compiled this report include Dr. Haroun Adamu (Chairman), Alh. Abdu Abdurrahim, Barrister Achana Gaius Yaro, Arc. Edward Eguavoen, Mr. T Andrew Adegboro and Engr. Baba Goni Machina.

SOURCE: POINTBLANKNEWS

Odedina Taofeek
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SEE HOW NORTHERNERS “OWN” NIGERIA

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SEE HOW NORTHERNERS “OWN” NIGERIA

1.Vice President =North.
2. Senate President = North.
3. Speaker House of Reps = North.
4. PDP National Chairman= North.
5. Head of Service = North.

6. INEC Chairman = North.
7. Inspector General of Police = North.
8. CBN Governor = North.
9. Chief Justice of federation = North.
10. President Court of Appeal = North.

11. EFCC Chairman = North.
12. President Federal high court = North.
13. National Security Adviser = North.
14. Chief of Defense Staff = North.
15. Controller, Customs Service = North.

16. Controller Prison Services = North.
17. Richest man in Africa= North.
18. 85% of Petroleum Marketers in Nigeria = Northerners.
19. 80% of Oil Block Owners in Nigeria = Northerners.
20. 99% of beggars in Nigeria = Northerners

21. Boko Haram = North.
22. Almajiri = North.
23. Yet, the Poorest states in Nigeria and Educationally backward areas in Nigeria are in the North.
24. 8 former heads of state(TafawaBal ewa, Yakubu Gowon, Murtala Muhammed,
Shehu Shagari, Buhari, IBB, SaniAbacha, Abdulsalam Abubakar) = North.

Now ASK yourself why is there no improvement in the average lives of Nigerians in the Boko Haram zones?

The elites(elrufai, tanko yankassai, buhari, rahamaniya, bello, tukur, and host of others are becoming richer and the common man poorer,yet the North( elrufai, buhari n few money n greed southerners asiwere bola ahmed n rotimi fasakin blame GEJ for their backwardness, you, be the judge… do we need any soother or fortune teller to see this loot-sidedness? What else do they want from Nigeria? These born to rule believers held power for 3 gud decades n they can’t account 4 anytin yet u sit there n join them in blaming GEJ. My fellow youths time has come for us all to readjust and face our fears. Let’s serve God not religion, let’s lead n nt politicise, let’s liberate our ppl after all both d rich n poor will still occupy only a room six feet down.

GTBank Reject #15 Billion Loan Request Of Governor Ibikunle Amosun. Post on NEWS WATCH by Odedina Taofeek

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There are indications that the Guaranty Trust Bank GTB has bluntly refused to accede to the loan request by the Ogun State Government under Senator Ibikunle Amosun, due to palpable fears of mismanagement and strength to repay.

 This is coming on the heels of the approval of the Ogun State House of Assembly OGHA ,granted the Amosun Government to source for N15billion loan solely at GTB.

It was reliably gathered that the Ogun State Government approached Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) to advance the amount.

An authoritative source reveals that GTB turned down the request but conditionally offered the State Government the sum of N5billion, an amount lesser than the state Government’s request.

You would recall that GTBank had earlier advanced N7.5billion and N500million respectively to the government last year.

Following the refusal of Guaranty Trust Bank to accede to the Ogun State Government’s full request, Amosun instructed the Commissioner for Finance, Kemi Adeosun to immediately resend to OGHA a request to allow it approach any bank for the loan as against the initial approval which listed only GTBank as bank of choice for the loan.

The reasons GTBank partially washed its hands off the Amosun’s request was mainly premised on the brand of bitter politics and management style of Senator Amosun.

Accoding to a source “who would lend money to a lavish government? The financial capability of the state is not even guaranteed. Even at that the state government is so harsh that government doesn’t seem to be a continuum in that state”.

The Credit Memorandum Appraisal presented to the Bank’s credit committee noted that the state is fast becoming a boiling point of sorts giving the Governor’s choice at approaching governance and that the slightest shift in power may result to a big loss for the bank.

It went on to note that the existing facility was not well managed by the state as such would not recommend the extension of a further N15billion to it.

It also noted the state’s indebtedness to other banks vis-a-vis its ability to pay back this loans in the life of the present administration which ends in 2015.

The government appealed endlessly to GTBank in the process citing the need to immediately pay those whose structures have been demolished amongst other needs.

It was at this point that GTBank advised a credit of N5billion on the understanding that the state fulfills further conditions which will require the State government return to OGHA .

This is bad news for those contractors who have a payment agreement with the government as any default is likely to cause disaster and pain not only to those contractors but to citizens who have had their lifestyles change from the ongoing projects whose funding are now threatened, worse still are those who are still awaiting compensation.

They may have to now wait longer than planned without any alternative having lost their businesses and houses in the demolition process carried out by Senator Amosun.

FG orders sack of 20,000 PHCN workersPosted: 28 Apr 2013

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THE Federal Government has ordered the retrenchment of no fewer than 20,000 workers of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, ahead of takeover by successful bidders of its assets.
Vanguard gathered that the Bureau for Public Enterprises, BPE, issued the directive to the Chief Executive Officers, CEOs, of the 18 successor companies to PHCN at a meeting in Abuja, to compile names and drastically reduce the 50,000 strong workforce before the new investors take over.
It was gathered that new investors demanded that the workforce must be pruned before government hands off.
Labour kicks, warns on danger of action
Though it is not clear how government arrived at this figure, however, General Secretary of the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, Mr Joe Ajaero, who confirmed the directive to massively retrench the workforce, said it was obvious that the Federal Government had decided to truncate the implementation of the collective agreement reached with the unions.
Already, organised labour had kicked against the move and warned the government against such action even as the agreement reached between both parties in December 2012 on the terminal benefits of workers had not been implemented.
The Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, SSAEAC, has petitioned the government through the Federal Ministry of Labour to explain the dangers and futility of government action when agreement on terminal benefits had not been honoured by the government.
On its part, NUEE directed members to shut down the power sector once any worker is issued a retrenchment letter without a financial back up in line with the December 2012 agreement.
NUEE, in a statement by Ajaero, rejected the planned retrenchment of workers without honouring the agreement the government entered into with the workers.
According to NUEE, “our attention has been drawn to the nocturnal meetings being held between Federal Government and all chief executive officers in Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, where a mandate to retrench workers in the power sector has been handed down to them. It is rather unfortunate and provoking that the Federal Government is hatching such obnoxious idea when agreement reached with the unions on payment of severance benefit is yet to be implemented.
“Information reaching us reveals that arrangement to close down PHCN’s Corporate Headquarters has been put in place. While people are still working, government plans to kill their management.
“It was equally gathered that the Federal Government has concluded plans not to pay pension or transfer money to the Pension Fund Administrators, PFAs, all in the name of driving workers to their early graves. We are worried that the government could be privatizing without cash backing, as information at our disposal suggests that about N43 billion is available out of the over N400 billion agreed with the unions.
“At the moment, agreement on certain indices to be used in calculating entitlements like life expectancy which the Federal Government put at 14 years is yet to be reconciled.
“By this posture, it is obvious that the Federal Government has decided to truncate the implementation of collective agreement reached with the unions. Nigerians should, therefore, hold government responsible for any reaction this action may generate.
“While there is still opportunity for the Federal Government to follow due process, we wish to state unequivocally that PHCN workers will legitimately resist every attempt to shave their hair in their absence. Should the Federal Government make good its threat to retrench workers in the sector when labour issues have not been settled, all members are advised to stop work, while those monies paid into their accounts should be seen as free money. The hour has come for you to defend your rights.”
FG set to pay off workers
—Igali Meanwhile, the Federal Government has said it is now set to pay off the staff of PHCN. The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Power, Ambassador Godknows Igali disclosed this, weekend.
Igali told journalists in Abuja that the fund for the payment of the workers’ severance package was ready and that in a matter of weeks, they would be paid as part of the process of the takeover of the sector by private investors.
His words: ”What we have done so far is to try to ensure that the entitlement of these people and their severance package is well calculated from the point of their engagement to the point where the government is bringing the private people to take over.
“We have agreed on virtually everything. Government is preparing towards the formal takeover by the private sector. We expect the process to be seamless. So far, there is no major problem; the fund required to pay the people is available.”
…assures workers
The Permanent Secretary expressed satisfaction at the resolution of the issues surrounding the disengagement with the PHCN staff as well as casual workers and assured that the Federal Government was working to ensure that they were all happily disengaged.
According to him, the new owners would certainly re-engage many of the workers as it would be practically impossible to operate without the old staff. He said the private sector operators would be made to adhere to the nation’s labour laws.
His words: “The people that are working in these power plants are Nigerians, and when the private people take over, they are not going to bring workers from Jupiter, Mercury or China; most of their workers would remain Nigerians.
“The only difference is that they have been government workers up till now and as the government finishes with them, they will transfer their services to private operators who are driving the sector now. But the private sector will still follow the Labour law of this country.
“So, it is not a situation of whether there is going to be mass exodus of people out of the sector. Most of these workers have been very competent; they have been serving the country very well with commitment. And you cannot just replace those who have been on the job for many years.”
Training and retraining of workers
For those who would not be re-employed by the new owners and those who may choose to go into private business, Igali said: “Government also has a very robust programme to train and retrain the workers of most of these companies. Retraining them is at two levels: first is to retrain people in such a way that they can fit into a new nature of the sector. Before it was public service but now, we have private people taking over.
“So we are retraining them so that those who will continue working on contract basis will fit into the system properly. The second training is directed at those who would opt for private life. A lot of people may want to go into consultancy; like I said, the private people coming in cannot go out of the country to import thousands upon thousands of workers to take over our electricity sector. They will still need these same people.
“Government from the highest political authority has assured people of their commitment to ensure that all parties are satisfied with the way the issues are resolved.”
He added that the power reform transaction signing summit presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, last Monday, was an eloquent demonstration of highest commitment by the government to ensure a successful conclusion of the power transaction.
The Perm Sec said $600 million (about N94 billion) was realised from the 25 per cent initial payments by the investors in the power sector and that they were equally determined to make the transactions successful with some even ready to make 100 per cent payment of their bid prices ahead of the 90-day stipulated payment period.
He said: “Some are ready to pay 100 per cent but 25 per cent was what was required at this stage and the total amount from the information we have from BPE is about $600m.”
Igali said power generation had risen to over 4,500 and that the Federal government’s target of 9-10,000 at the end of the year was still intact.
He claimed that some major cities of the nation now enjoy about 16 hours of electricity daily.

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Obasanjo dares Jonathan on probe of corruption Post on NEWS WATCH by Odedina Taofeek

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FROM EMEKA ANUFORO, ABUJA NEWS – NATIONAL
• Says  ‘ hold me liable, not Ezekwesili’

• Faults pipeline protection contract

• Graft now democratised, ex-minister insists

IT has been an intermittent disagreement that is sometimes considered to have been magnified by the public. But the face-off now festers, and erstwhile President Olusegun Obasanjo did not mind letting the public know this.

Sunday, Obasanjo told his estranged protégé President Goodluck Jonathan that he was not serious about fighting corruption.

He told Jonathan that he should demonstrate his fight against corruption by directing it on him (Obasanjo) rather than one of his former ministers, Oby Ezekwesili.

Obasanjo, who spoke in Abuja at the 50th birthday thanksgiving of Ezekwesili, said that the Jonathan government would not find anything against the former Minister of Education and World Bank chief.

He noted that as head of government for eight years, he should be held liable if any of his ministers was found wanting.

Obasanjo, who also spoke on the planned pipeline protection contract, described it as an avenue for corruption.

The former President said in defence of Ezekwesili: “Those who wanted to probe you, you should have asked them to, because if they are honest probers, they will find out that the government of Nigeria should give you money for what you have done for this country without stealing money.

“I have always said this. Whatever you want to blame in my government, blame me, don’t blame any of those people who assisted me. If there is any credit to dispense, we share it. But for anything you want to say is wrong, I was the one in charge.”

He continued: “This morning, I was travelling from Abeokuta and I was listening to radio. I heard that they said that they are going to set up an agency for pipeline protection. Now, what are the police there for? What are all the security agencies that we have doing? This is another chop chop.

“I just hope that we will get it right. We have no choice. We have to get it right. Let us decide individually that I would do what I have to do to bring about change in Nigeria. If you do that, let me assure you, you will be called names. You will be abused. Some people are hired to do that. But like Oby said, if what you believe is right, stand by it.”

On her part, Ezekwesili, who spoke with reporters after a church service held at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) and a reception at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, lamented that endemic corruption was destroying the country.

She said the country was suffering from the woes of the past, calling on the citizens to demand accountability from their elected officials.

She said: “I am not a politician. The day I decide that I want to become a politician you don’t need to guess, you will see me. I am very candid. I am very frank. I am too honest to play games on things that I believe in.

“I am not a politician but I am an active citizen who is basically carrying out the role that every citizen of this nation must carry out. We are going through challenges that require a very strong sense of sacrificial leadership. The corruption in the society now is so endemic it has almost become democratised and that is going to sink us. We need to tackle corruption as we will tackle cancer. It can kill. There is no need pretending that this country is not burdened by corruption. Every Nigerian knows that we have a problem.”

Ezekwesili attracted criticism from the Jonathan administration when she raised questions on what the Jonathan Presidency has done with the $67 billion purportedly left by Obasanjo.  She spoke at a convocation of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Since then, Obasanjo’s and Jonathan’s aides have been at loggerheads, leading to another call by Ezekwesili for a public debate on the issue.

The Jonathan government has subtly turned down the call for a public debate on the issue. The government has rather sent some of the nation’s anti-corruption agencies to the Ministry of Education to snoop around if there were suspicious contracts awarded during the tenure of Ezekwesili, who is fondly called “Madam Due Process.”

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Probe me, not my aides, Obasanjo dares FG Post on NEWS WATCH by Odedina Taofeek

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The  cold war between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Goodluck Jonathan Administration came again to the fore  on Sunday at a thanksgiving service held  in honour of a former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, in Abuja.

At the service that had many eminent Nigerians, including a former Head of the Service of the Federation, Steve Oronsaye,  and  ex-Attorney General of Federation and Minister of Justice, Kanu Agabi, in attendance, Obasanjo said if  the Goodluck Jonathan administration was keen on probing  his government, it should come after him instead of  people that served under him.

He also flayed the plan by the  Federal Government to set up a pipeline protection agency, saying it was another avenue for corruption.

But Obasanjo’s comments drew the ire of the Presidency which said no past administration, either past or present, should  be afraid of probe. It also advised  the former President to  allow Jonathan  to do his work.

The former leader had  at the 50th birthday thanksgiving service for Ezekwesili, said, “I have always said this, whatever you want to blame in my government, blame me; don’t blame any of those people who assisted me. If there is any credit to dispense, we share it. But for anything you want to say is wrong, I was the one in charge and I was in charge.”

Obasanjo, whose comments were necessitated by the war of words between Ezekwesili, and the Presidency over the $67bn the Jonathan administraion inherited from his government, said he had absolute trust in those that worked under him, especially  as ministers.

Ezekwesili’s  claim that  the Federal Government squandered the sum  was described by the Presidency as reckless.

Turning to the former Education minister,  Obasanjo  said he was sure nothing would be found against her because of her integrity and commitment to public service.

He said, “Actually those who wanted to probe you (Ezekwesili), you should have asked them to  go ahead because if they are honest, they would find out that the government  should give you money for what you have done for this country without stealing money.”

Obasanjo, who is  the immediate past Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party Board of Trustees, then faced  Oronsaye, Agabi, a former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Charles Soludo;  and ex- Minister of Information, Frank Nweke Jnr., and said,   “When I look at you, I thank God for making you available to serve in my administration, to serve Nigeria and serve God at the time you did.”

But he  faulted  Agabi’s earlier call  at the service for the establishment  of a National Commission for Integration,  saying   it was not necessary.  According to him, the entire  1999 Constitution is for integration.

“What else do you need. You have a constitution that is intended to integrate the country. You have  the Federal Character  Commissiom for instance.  What is that one meant to do? It is for integration. The entire constitution is all about integrating this country. If at all we failed to use it, it can even be said that we have breached the constitution. You don’t need a commission for integration,” Obasanjo added.

On the planned agency for pipeline protection, the former President  said it would be another avenue for corruption.

“This (Sunday) morning, I was travelling from Abeokuta and  I was listening to a radio station when  I heard that they (government) are going to set up an agency for pipeline protection. Now, what are the police for? What are all the security agencies that we have doing? This is another chop chop.

For those advocating  change in Nigeria, Obasanjo said they must be prepared to take insults.

“I just hope that we will get it right. We have no choice, we have to get it right. Let us decide individually that ‘I would do what I have to do to bring about change in Nigeria.’ If you do that, let me assure you, you will be called names; you will be abused; some people are hired to do that. But like Oby (Ezekwesili) say what you believe  is right and stand by it.

But the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Dr. Ahmed Gulak,  responded to Obasanjo’s  comments, saying  that any administration could be probed.

Gulak, in an interview with one of our correspondents, argued that even the current administration was being probed regularly by the legislative arm of government.

He added, ” This administration and past administrations can be probed. Nobody should be afraid of probe.”

On   Obasanjo’s description of the planned pipeline protection agency  as another chop chop, Gulak said as an elderstatesman, Obasanjo should not just criticise government for  its  sake, but should proffer solutions if indeed he loves the country.

He said since Obasanjo was not the present President, he should allow the incumbent to concentrate on his job.

Gulak  said, “The former President is entitled to his opinion; but he  is not the President. He should allow the President to do his work.  People should stop making derogatory statements about the President. There is only one President in the country today and we should all support him.

“People should not just be criticising government. As an elderstatesman, if he indeed loves this country, he should proffer solutions rather than criticising.”

Some aides of the  former President- Hassan Lawal,  Nasir el-Rufa, Femi Fani-Kayode, and  Adeyanju Bodunde –  are currently  being tried for various offences.

While Lawal, a  former Minister of Works,  is being prosecuted  for  N75bn fraud,  el-Rufai, an ex- Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, is facing trial   for   irregular land allocation and abuse of office.

Fani-Kayode, who is  former Minister of Aviation, is facing trial  for money laundering  while and  Bodunde, an  special assistant to  Obasanjo,   was in 2011 arraigned for his alleged involvement in the $180m  Harlibutton bribery scandal.

Ezekwesili  had in her remarks, recalled how her parents moulded her  by teaching her  moral values. She said  she could not understand why people would wanted to enjoy a life that they  never  worked for.

“I was born to parents who are from  a humble family. My daddy was a man of uncompromising integrity. My daddy worked in Nigeria Ports Authority. He used to say to us that the NPA  had become a centre of corruption. That was so many years ago. My mother talked my father out of public service because she was afraid for him.

“My mother used to go to what we call bend down boutiques in Tejuosho Market in Lagos to buy clothes for us. She knew what they called  grade one okrika (used clothes). We did not have money. We were poor but  rich  in values. Those values shaped everything about me. From young age, good governance and accountability mattered to me,” she told the congregation.

Ezekwesil, who  said she felt “a sense of completion of a certain phase in my life,” added that corruption in governance today  might not allow a child of similar background  to survive.

“In a relatively decent society, I got the kind of education that has taken me thus far. I was Minister of Education. A similarly poor child, who comes from the kind of family I came from when I was young would not have the kind of opportunities that I had in this same nation.

“We must therefore  build a decent society that does not sow this terrible seed  of inequality that I see around me today. When I see  the children of drivers, the gardeners and I see that they will not have the kind of education  and opportunities that I had, it pains me.”

On why she criticised the government recently, she replied that “democracy is incomplete  without  the  engagement of citizens in the process. The demand for accountability and results is   the right  of citizens.”

In his homily, Rev. Dr. William Okoye, appealed to Nigerians to shun corruption and be contented.

According to him, any nation that places values on materialism is doomed.

“Life is not about material things that some of us are concerned about today. Life consists of far more than that. When people value money more than life and  God, they can do anything. The life you live   pursuing mundane things at the expense of God has no blessing and can’t save you.”

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Dele Momodu! A Toast As Michael Adenuga ‘The Guru’ Clocks 60 Post on NEWS WATCH by Odedina Taofeek

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Ladies and gentlemen, please join me as I raise a toast to an African icon, business titan, managerial wizard and philanthropic legend, Dr Michael Adeniyi Agbolade Isola Adenuga, as he clocks 60 on Monday, April 29, 2013. He has done more than enough to justify each of those adjectives. On a personal note and as a journalist, I’ve had the rare opportunity of following the incredible story of this extremely gifted man for the past 22 years, the reason I’m qualified to be a self-appointed toastmaster today.

It is difficult to imagine that Adenuga was already a wealthy, accomplished man before he attained the age of 40. This obviously gave rise to all manner of speculations about his source of wealth and the perceived strength of those behind him. This riddle made me more determined to find out as much as possible about this man who seemed to have built an impregnable wall around himself and his activities. The more I dug into his life, the clearer I discovered that his talismanic weapon was no more than an almost manic addiction to work. He had a simple and straight forward mantra; no mountain is too difficult to climb. Dr. Adenuga’s success simply teaches the world about the virtues of hard work. Please click to continue reading.

Adenuga’s management style was totally alien to our clime at the time. And it remains customised to him till this day. He cuts the image of a slave driver but he obviously drives himself even harder. He is not a General who goes to sleep while his troops keep vigil. He stays awake like a true Civilian-Field Marshall. The workaholic keeps everyone on their toes. His job is not for the faint-hearted. In his inimitable style, the legend is that he personally supervises the appointment of every member of his large workforce.  This is a prodigious task at the very least, but one which immediately gives him an insight into every employee and leaves no one in doubt of who is in charge. He is clairvoyant enough to spot good talents and ready to tutor and take them through the drills and grills. It produces awesome results most of the time. Many have complained that he is a bully but surprisingly they never protest when he lavishes them with gifts. Many of those who have left his company often seek to come back after trying other bosses. It is difficult to find a man that generous but every soul must earn that generosity. And he extends his legendary toughness to even members of his family.

As a reporter chronicling the amazing lifestyles of newsmakers, I have grown totally and unrepentantly fond of many extraordinary Nigerians in my career, but Chief Moshood Abiola, Chief Abdul-Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi and Dr Mike Adenuga Jnr take the cake. They are my all-time heroes. I love them to bits for one simple reason. They shared an uncommon courage and the ability to conquer impossible challenges. While Abiola and Adenuga topped the Kilimanjaro of business, Gani headed for the Everest of Law and never stopped climbing. They dared to be different. And I learnt so much from my apprenticeship under them.

What fascinates me endlessly about Adenuga is his unique style of doing things. Everyone talks about his stupendous wealth but ignore the fact that his is a veritable case-study in what the power of vision and tenacity can produce. True, positive accidents do occur in the journey of man that may affect his fortune drastically; this is exactly not so in Adenuga’s case. There’s no doubt he’s made powerful friends along the way but he wasn’t the only one who did. Others have since disappeared from radar and crashed into total oblivion. Not many members of the privilegentsia made anything tangible from the opportunities bestowed on them by influential benefactors. Adenuga is just in a class of his own.

This could be linked to the truth that despite the fact that he was born into a comfortable family, he never took it for granted that he had to work to make it real big in life. He drove taxis as a student in the United States and started business since then by shipping commodities home from the proceeds of his sweat. He was a thorough-bread Ijebuman who knew how to turn riches into wealth. The Ijebu gene in him must have been speeding at full throttle. Like King Midas, everything he touched turned into gold. Making money for Adenuga is not just an art, it is a science. It entails meticulously setting out on a mission and making sure it is accomplished. The result is that Adenuga has since globalised his name without making any extra effort at throwing himself at people’s faces. This is why Forbes continues to underrate his humongous empire. My encounter with a Forbes agent in Africa says it all.

About two years ago, Mr Mfonobong Nsehe was conducting a research for Forbes magazine on Nigeria’s richest men and women and had called in for my opinion. I wasted no time in telling him of my reservations about the yardstick usually employed by publications like Forbes and Fortune in measuring riches. While it is okay to monitor and use publicly quoted companies and empires to judge and arrive at their Rich lists in those developed economies and far-flung places, such criteria would fall flat in Africa. Their Rich lists had become too academic and almost mechanical.

I told him that in Africa, you cannot call a chronic debtor a rich man.  You cannot call a man who has gathered other people’s money to run a business a wealthy man. The rich man is that man whose personal fortune can be separated from what he owes as well as that of his business partners. On that note, the Forbes Rich list in Africa can’t be very accurate. There are many silent billionaires who have worked hard to achieve greatness but have chosen to remain understated. Adenuga is one of such people who never flaunt his wealth like less successful people do. He lets his works speak for him eloquently. Not many people could ever claim they’ve ever seen or met Adenuga in person. I love to describe him always as a spirit you don’t see but feel his impact all around.

Mfonobong Nsehe seemed to have bought into my analysis as reflected in the teaser he later published before the actual Forbes List for the year 2011 came out: “Nigerian Billionaire Mike Adenuga Might Be Africa’s Richest Man.” It was posted on the Forbes website on July 14, 2011.

In my view, Adenuga has always been grossly under-estimated. Those who should know would boldly acknowledge that there are not many Adenugas in the world. His tentacles go far beyond Africa. Not many people in the world own his types of business concerns, almost single-handedly. Oil & Gas (upstream and downstream), Telecommunications (with combined subscriber base of over 30 million spreading across Nigeria, Benin Republic and Ghana), Banking (the last individually-owned till recently), Real Estate (in different parts of the world)… I’m sure there are other less visible investments globally.

While I understand and appreciate the frustrations that most reporters, local and foreign, always face over attempts to unravel the private life of Dr Mike Adenuga Jnr. (GCON), it should not be too difficult to correctly assess his conglomerate as Forbes itself has proven. The same magazine that limited its rating of Dr Adenuga to his stakes in Globacom still went on to disclose his much bigger companies that were not rated by its reporters. This can easily mislead researchers in the future who may wish to know and document some of Africa’s business icons.

Adenuga’s life is amazing. I wonder when he sleeps and how he enjoys the spectacular wealth it has pleased God to bestow on him. While friends and foes are busy gossiping about him, the gentleman is making his money per second. It does not even matter if you and I are fast asleep. Globacom never goes on vacation just the same way his petrol stations never fall into deep slumber or his oil well never cease pumping. He has carefully chosen to invest in products that everyone needs on a daily basis. He had the foresight to predict the volume business that telecoms could become in Africa by making it easily accessible and affordable for all. He demystified telecoms in Nigeria and extended his dare-devilry to other countries.

Dr. Adenuga has taught his mates that if your money is big enough, you must own your own bank or control its largest shares. While the so-called Nigerian mega-banks were moaning, groaning and agonising over the forced recapitalisation of financial institutions under the Obasanjo administration, he was the only bank owner who effortlessly merged his two banks, DEVCOM Merchant Bank and Equatorial Trust Bank and raised his N25 billion capital pronto. I had a raucous laugh when I read how Forbes wrote that Adenuga’s bank could not have been worth much. No bank in Nigeria is that small and certainly not a bank owned by the business octopus.

Dr. Adenuga operates on the philosophy that you must win all the time. For him, there is no excuse for failure. If you fail, you must continue to strive till you begin to thrive and succeed. It took longer than necessary for the Globacom take-off in Ghana because there were just too many obstacles to surmount. But he would rather be late than being rushed into doing a shoddy job. Nothing but the best must come from the stable of the man we all love to address as The Guru. When he eventually took off in Ghana, even Angels in heaven shouted Hallelujah, and gave him a standing ovation. It was sheer magic the day his network was switched on.

Dr. Adenuga is the Master of human development. He has built a superlative network of business opportunities for Nigerians at home and abroad. He’s easily the biggest employer of labour outside of government in Nigeria. His direct employees run into several thousands. His indirect contribution to the labour force is reflected in those ubiquitous kids running after your cars with telephone recharge cards day and night. You must also remember to add on those petrol station attendants selling petroleum at ConOil filling stations all over the country. He has clearly elevated the status of our artistes through generous endorsements and maximum exposure on international Media. Through Adenuga, our artists now appear like the authentic stars that they are.

Dr. Adenuga is the biggest investor in the development of sports in Africa today. He must take substantial credit for the recent victory of Nigeria at AFCON 2013 in South Africa. He was the benevolent man who resurrected the comatose Nigerian Football League, just like he has helped Ghanaian football to witness sporadic boom.  Adenuga has raised the bar of entertainment as a profitable industry in Africa. He has been paying many artistes what was definitely beyond their dreams only ten years ago. His sponsorship of African Voices on CNN has also promoted the positive side of Africa; a continent that internationally used to be synonymous with famine, wars and diseases.

Dr. Adenuga is regarded as the most generous man in Africa today. While many businessmen would call press conferences before donating less than a hundred thousand dollars, he gives out millions every single day with a strict warning to the beneficiaries that “mum is the word.” His belief is that charity is a spiritual obligation that should never be a subject of media hype or vain-glorification.  He has unobtrusively etched his name on the hearts of the young and old, the poor and the rich, in a manner that would be difficult to match.

Indeed, Dr. Adenuga is God’s work in progress. He deserves our prayers and warmest congratulations.

A toast to the Guru at 60…

Posted by Ladun Liadi

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