Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Controversies, Scandals trail the exit of Nnaji as Power Minister

It is believed that Prof. Nnaji must have been pressured into resigning as the Minister of Power and from the Federal Executive Council by the Presidency because of fears that the issue of conflict of interest could damage the credibility of the privatization process, which has local and foreign investors as bidders.
It was gathered that it was when it was established that Nnaji had interest in two firms, Skipper Nigeria Limited and Eastern Electric Nigeria Limited that the National Council on Privatization chaired by Vice- President Namadi Sambo, decided to cancel the technical bid evaluation process conducted for the two firms.
There was speculation that the NCP had been silent on the bidders that were prequalified for the Afam Power Station because of the conflict of interest that had arisen during the privatization process. Nnaji further notified the NCP that Geometric Power had a minority stake in Eastern Electric Nigeria Limited, which had submitted technical and financial bids for Enugu Distribution Company Limited on July 31. He also reportedly informed the council that owing to his position, he had notified President Jonathan of his company’s bid for Enugu Distribution Company, and brought it to their attention that although he had an interest in Geometric Power, he had resigned from its board and transferred his shares to a blind trust.
Following this disclosure, Nnaji was said to have excused himself from the consideration of the report of the technical bids. Having been informed of Nnaji’s direct and indirect interest in two companies being privatized, the report said the council decided to cancel the technical evaluation that had been conducted for Afam and disbanded the evaluation team.
Also, the former minister had also been at the receiving end of the war declared by workers of the PHCN. The workers had opened a can of worms on some financial transactions allegedly carried out by Nnaji which reportedly drained the purse of PHCN. They had given the embattled minister a seven-day ultimatum to explain what he did with the money running into millions of naira which they claimed was withdrawn from the firm’s coffer.
Vice-President of the National Union of Electricity Workers Employees, Mr. Etete Ntukuben, last Friday, called for a probe, not just of the PHCN superannuation account, but the entire account of the PHCN. Ntukuben said that investigators should be brought in to take a critical look at the withdrawals by the former minister from the account of the PHCN.

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