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