Reps probe sale of PHCN assets

By Umar Muhammad Puma

The House of Representatives said it will investigate the alleged fraudulent sale of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) non-core assets and scraps.
The resolution of the House was sequel to a motion under matters of urgent national importance sponsored by Rep. Rita Orji (Lagos-PDP).
Moving the Motion, Orji explained that auctioning of PHCN overtime cargoes, scraps and obsolete items by Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Ltd (NELMCO) worth over N20 billion was recently carried out.
She added that over N1.5 billion was claimed to have been realised from the sales.
The lawmaker noted that there were widespread claims of irregularities and improper advertisement on national dailies including the trader’s journal.
According to her, there were allegations of posting fraudulent and misleading advertisement for the sale of high–value items on selected dailies from anticipated buyers were prominent.
“People who heard about the auction and showed interest were purportedly not allowed or given the opportunity to buy the assets after fulfilling all the necessary requirements for the purchases.’’
Orji expressed worry that the bidding process was allegedly neither transparent nor forthright as allegations of fraudulent activities trailed the sales and the outcome ended in disputes.
She further expressed concern that if the outcry by the public against the seemingly spurious sales and auctions were left unattended to, it would set a bad precedence for any such transaction in the future.
“The outcry is vociferous, the allegations are weighty and a comprehensive and detailed scrutiny would enable both the alleged offended and offender to be treated judiciously.’’
Supporting the motion, some members while reacting said it was disheartening that persons charged with delivering light to the people will end up plunging the nation into darkness.
“Only to turn around and attempt to acquire it for themselves at the slightest opportunity.’’
They also supported the call for a proper investigation to be carried out on the matter.
The House therefore mandated its Committee on Power and Public Procurement to investigate the alleged fraudulent sale of assets and report back within one month.
It further urged that the sales should be stopped pending the outcome of the investigation.
The motion was unanimously adopted by members when it was put to a voice vote by the Deputy Speaker, Mr Yussuff Lasun.

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