PHCN assets: ICPC interrogates NELMCO boss

PHCN-worker08 April 2014, Abuja – The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, has begun investigations into the alleged secret sale of landed property of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, by its liability managers.

regard, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Limited, NELMCO, Dr. Samuel John Agbogun,was recently interrogated by the ICPC to determine his extent of involvement inthe sale of the transferred to the custody agency.

The ICPC in a summon letter with reference No.ICPC/INV/GBP/T.F/102, and dated March28, 2014, specifically asked Agbogun to appear before it on Wednesday 2, April 2014.
Agbogun was also requested to come along with the list of all the lease agreements of PHCN non-core assets submitted to his office.

ICPC sources told Vanguard that Agbogun was actually drilled by operatives of the anti-graft agency for several hours.
Recall that prior to Federal government’s liquidation of the PHCN, it had conducted the verification of PHCN non-core assets nationwide and overseas.

Following the successful conclusion of the exercise, the non-core assets were documented and transferred to NELMCO, as schedule ‘B’ pursuant to the transfer instrument executed by the Bureau of Public Enterprise, BPE, and PHCN in September 2011.

This was in line with the recommendation of the PHCN Liquidation Committee pursuant to the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, transfer of assets, employees, liabilities, rights and obligations, order No.46 of 2010.
But documents obtained by Vanguard indicated that NELMCO had started selling some of the non-core assets without recourse to due diligence and contrary to laid down regulations and procedure in the dispose of the landed property.

The practice is that properties to be so sold are to be properly evaluated by the relevant government agencies, including the Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development as well as the Federal Ministry of Works.

Such properties should be appropriately processed by the relevant Departmental Tenders Committee, and where necessary, the Ministerial Tenders Board. It is expected that the National Council of Privatisation, NCP, be actively involved in the evaluation as well as giving consent to the disposal of any of the properties.

But properties already disposed by NELMCO according to the documents containing details of the transactions including the detachable 4-bedroom with 3-room boys quarter located at Block 11, Ijora Staff Quarters, Ijora Lagos, sold at the cost N40 million.

In fact, the law firm, Peace Chambers, which facilitated the sale of the said property, had already applied and paid four percent of the total sum of N40 million as Agency Commission. The company’s letter addressed to Managing Director, NELMCO on March 27, 2014, entitled,“Request for payment of our agency commission,” was acknowledged to have been received the same day and action for payment commenced the same day.

According to the letter signed by Jo Asemota, directed that “the payment should be made into account name, Oyobagie Joseph Asemota, Zenith Bank Ac/No 1002371529.”
Other property disposed by NELMCO included a piece of land at scraped power station located on Ahmadu Bello Way, Bauchi, allegedly sold to Ahadiami Nigeria Limited at the cost of N6.6million and another piece of land at FadamaMada Quest House, PHCN, Bauchi state also sold at N7.7million to the Ahadiami.
*Chris Ochayi – Vanguard

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