TCN: As Reps X-ray Man­i­toba’s al­leged cor­rupt prac­tices

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS - By Musa Ab­dul­lahi Kr­ishi

The ac­tiv­i­ties of Man­i­toba Hy­dro-In­ter­na­tional Nige­ria Lim­ited (MHINL) in man­ag­ing the Trans­mis­sion Com­pany of Nige­ria (TCN) were re­cently ques­tioned by the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.

When the House took the de­ci­sion to probe Man­i­toba last month, it gave some rea­sons for do­ing so. The probe was as a re­sult of a mo­tion by Rep Jonathan Gaza Gbe­fwi (PDP, Nasarawa).

Ti­tled ‘Ur­gent Need to In­ves­ti­gate the Mas­sive Cor­rupt Prac­tices be­ing Per­pe­trated by MHINL in its Man­age­ment of TCN,’ the mo­tion brought to the fore how the com­pany al­legedly short changed Nige­ria in its ac­tiv­i­ties.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment en­tered into a man­age­ment con­tract with Man­i­toba In­ter­na­tional Canada, which was later in­cor­po­rated in Nige­ria. This ef­fec­tively al­tered the char­ac­ter of the man­age­ment con­tract in cer­tain as­pects, ac­cord­ing to the House.

The House re­vealed that while the con­sid­er­a­tion of the con­tract in­cluded emol­u­ments for 15 ex­pa­tri­ates, only eight of them are work­ing at the TCN.

The green cham­ber was fur­ther dis­mayed that “in these harsh eco­nomic times, the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of TCN, a pub­lic cor­po­ra­tion, draws a monthly salary of N35.5m, while other ex­pa­tri­ates and the MD, ISO earn monthly in­comes of N20.5m and N19.1m re­spec­tively.”

Al­though the of­fi­cial ex­change rate of the dol­lar to the naira four years ago was around N160, which later be­came N199, the law mak­ers said “the ex­change rate be­ing used by the man­age­ment com­pany since 2012 has been N395, a rate that was and is still higher than both the of­fi­cial and par­al­lel mar­ket rates.”

“As a re­sult of the un­law­ful ex­change rate be­ing used by Man­i­toba Hy­dro In­ter­na­tional Nige­ria Lim­ited in the last 13 quar­ters, the TCN has fraud­u­lently and il­le­gally lost N3.769 bil­lion over and above its en­ti­tle­ment un­der the man­age­ment con­tract,” the House said.

Last April, “the man­age­ment com­pany un­law­fully re-val­i­dated a 2010 con­tract worth N1.9bn and awarded it to ABB In­dia with­out due process, in fla­grant vi­o­la­tion of the pub­lic pro­cure­ment Act, 2007,” the House fur­ther noted.

The con­tract re-val­i­da­tion was car­ried out de­spite grow­ing con­cerns among Nige­ri­ans and some ma­jor stake­hold­ers in the in­dus­try.

But even then, it was noted that “Man­i­toba Hy­dro In­ter­na­tional Nige­ria Lim­ited has not met its key per­for­mance in­di­ca­tors (KPI) un­der the man­age­ment con­tract and has clearly failed to jus­tify the hu­mon­gous sums of money it has drawn in ex­pa­tri­ate emol­u­ments.”

Thus, the House alerted the coun­try on “the grave na­tional se­cu­rity im­pli­ca­tions of a sit­u­a­tion where for­eign­ers are sig­na­to­ries to, and in charge of, the man­age­ment of a sov­er­eign trust fund of Nige­ria - the Mar­ket Op­er­a­tions (MO) Trust Fund.”

Chair­man of the com­mit­tee on power, which is sad­dled with the re­spon­si­bil­ity of prob­ing the mat­ter, Rep Daniel Asuquo (PDP, C/River) re­cently al­luded to the fact that in­deed Man­i­toba has a lot of ques­tions to an­swer based on rev­e­la­tions from its com­mit­tee.

He said al­though the Min­istry of Works, Power and Hous­ing had pleaded with the com­mit­tee to al­low it look into the al­leged in­frac­tions, the com­mit­tee was yet to hear from the min­istry.

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