Yola Disco, which is responsible for the distribution of electricity in Adamawa, Borno, Taraba and Yobe States, is subdivided into four districts – Yola, Maiduguri, Taraba and Damaturu.
The British consultant was said to have travelled to the North-east to verify the claims of the investor, following which the firm recommended that Yola Disco be taken back and the investor be repaid.
As part of its terms of reference, the consultant was also asked to verify the claims by Integrated Energy that in addition to the $59 million the investor used to acquire Yola Disco, it also invested additional capital in the replacement and upgrade of electricity infrastructure under the five-year plan approved by BPE during the privatisation process.
At the end of the exercise, it was accepted that the total sum of $185,634,681 was due to Integrated Energy, as demanded by the investor in its letter to the federal government.
The amount, THISDAY gathered, included the acquisition sum of $59 million, additional capital injection, as well as interest charges and penalties incurred on debt arising from bank loans.
However, owing to the electioneering period, the federal government kept the decision on Yola Disco in abeyance, until the dying days of the former President Goodluck Jonathan administration.
THISDAY learnt that it was a week before Jonathan’s handover that the former the president, based on the recommendation made by the NPC, gave approval that the amount demanded by IEDC be refunded to the firm, with the caveat that only $145 million should be paid to it, while the federal government would retain $40 million.
The outstanding $40 million, NCP had advised, should be escrowed, pending an audit to be conducted on Yola Disco by the federal government, following which the balance would be paid at a future date.
But given the fact that it was only approved just a week before Jonathan’s handover, the investors who put pressure on the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc to pay the approved sum, were unable to recover the money.
The Bulk Trader was said to have informed the NCP that it did not have that kind of money to pay Integrated Energy and that it was the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance to make such refunds.
As it stands now, sources within Integrated Energy are concerned that the federal government has both the asset and money and are said to be preparing a reminder for the new administration on its indebtedness to the former owners of Yola Disco.
An official of Integrated Energy said: “The banks keep charging interest and penalties on the monies we took from them for Yola Disco, so it is imperative that this matter is brought to a closure soon.
“Besides, government is a continuum, so by reminding the new administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari, we will be informing them that there is a subsisting presidential approval, which we hope the government will honour.”