Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has said that the House will not relent until all allegations of misuse of N10.08 trillion (about $30 billion) by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) is probed and unraveled.
This is just as the adhoc committee investigating the company led by Rep Darlington Nwokocha Thursday summoned all former Managing Directors, Management staff of the company to appear before it and give account of their stewardship.
The Speaker who stated this at the opening of a public hearing by an Ad hoc committee of the House, on the alleged Constitutional Breaches, Impunity and other Infractions of the NDPHC, and the Need to Ensure Probity and Statutory Oversight Functions, said it was a great concern that about half of the funds were reportedly sourced through the Excess Crude Account, which belong to the nation’s three tiers of government.
“From the information made available to the National Assembly, the NDPHC Ltd. has since 2005 invested over thirty Billion US Dollars (US$30B), over half of which was sourced from the Excess Crude Account belonging to the three tiers of Government, while the balance consists of funds from other investors. “
As a Limited Liability Company, the operations, management and accounting procedures of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited is subject to the overriding provisions of the Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in general, and the Companies and Allied Matters Act, (CAMA), in particular.
However, the available information is that the Company has failed to comply with very serious and important provisions of the Law, such that the very essence of the company, and by extension the NIPP, is seriously threatened.
“Furthermore, the NDPHC does not submit its annual budget and project plans for appropriation by the National Assembly, while, as alleged, it also generates Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) in trillions of Naira, which cannot be determined because it is neither divulged nor paid into the coffers of the Government, but rather expended by the company without Legislative approval or input from the other tiers of Government.
“Most importantly, information available from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) conveys very disturbing signals that the trillions of Naira purportedly invested into the NIPP by the Federal, the 36 States and the 774 Local Governments have not been securitized as only two billion Naira is said to be registered as shares in the CAC for the three tiers of Government”.
While tasking the committee to do a thorough job, the Speaker stressed that “the House is committed to finding a lasting solution to the challenge in our power sector, which has adversely affected all efforts to transform our economy. In particular, we are concerned about making the NDPHC to work to fulfil its intended objectives as an important agency in our electricity industry”.
During the investigative hearing, members of the committee demanded to know how the company had operated with such impunity and financial infractions which the Managing Director, Chiedu Ugbo could not immediately provide answers for but rather pleaded for more time.
The committee demanded for all share certificates of the company and names of directors where it was by representative of Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC that former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and Ago Fayose were the only governors that were directors of NPDHC.
To this end, a member of the committee, Rep Mark Gbilah moved that past MDs and management staff of the company should be summoned and the Chairman, Rep Nwokocha ruled that they all should be summoned.
Earlier in his presentation, Chinedu Ugbo, NDPHC Managing Director pledged to provide all the share certificates and resolutions taken at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) to the Committee.
He disclosed that the exercises the company carried out so far were approved by the Nigeria’s Governors Forum (NGF).
Speaking earlier, Darlington Nwokocha, chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee explained that the National Assembly is constitutionally empowered to detect and prevent abuse, prevent illegal and unconstitutional conduct on the part of the government, its ministries, departments, agencies and corporations; protect the rights and liberty of citizens; hold government answerable for how tax payers’ money is spent and make government operations more transparent and increase public trust in the government. Major stakeholders present at the hearing include: The Governors Forum, ALGON and CAC, oAGF. The investigative hearing was adjourned sine die.