House Probes Contracts Awarded by NDPHC Since 2004

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Adedayo Akinwale ín Abuja

House of Representatives has launched investigation into the operational and financial activities of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), including all contracts awarded by the company since 2004.

The House ordered the investigation following the adoption of a motion moved by Hon. Chisom Dike at the plenary yesterday.

He explained that the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) was conceived in 2004 as a fast-track government funded initiative to stabilise the Nigeria’s electricity supply system, while the private-sector-led structure of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005 took effect.

Dike said following the initial funding for NIPP from the Excess Crude Savings Account (ECSA), the federal government incorporated the NDPHC as a limited liability company to serve as the legal vehicle to hold the NIPP assets using private sector-oriented best business practices.

He added that the NDPHC in the discharge of its duties had awarded various contracts in relation to generation, transmission and distribution of electricity running into several billions of naira without corresponding impact on ground to show for such massive investments, thereby denying Nigerians value for their money.

The lawmaker expressed worry that most of the contracts awarded by the NDPHC, including contracts for the engagements of consultants and insurance companies are in clear violation of the Public Procurement Act of 2007.

Dike also expressed deep concern about the widespread cases of non-execution of contracts by contractors of the NDPHC, some of which include the Lot 14 Lekki Ajah Transmission Line and Lot 8 of Ibiala Orlu Transmission Line.

He said he was disturbed about the “widespread allegations and controversies surrounding the award of contracts by the NDPHC for various projects including but not limited to contracts and payment of N350 million for additional works on Lot 14T Transmission Project, N244 million for extra works on New Abeokuta Transmission Line (Lot 14-E), N104 million for Papalanto Old Abeokuta New Abeokuta 132 KV DC Transmission line (Lot 14-C).”

“Again, it should be noted that N84 billion was approved for payment of compensation to communities where transmission lines of power projects were to be laid.

“Despite the claims that over N50 billion had been paid to communities, contractors were said to have been prevented from doing their works by the communities over non-payment of compensation, even as there were allegedly other bogus payments made on compensation to communities, including N850 million as compensation to communities which has generated so much controversy,” he said.

Dike expressed concern about the manner in which the NDPHC has conducted its business for and on behalf of Nigerians, without corresponding results in terms of improvements in power supply over the years. He alleged that NDPHC has been deeply entrenched in corruption, mismanagement and embezzlement of funds meant to be used for the development of the nation’s power sector.

In his submission, the Minority Leader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu, said until there’s a total revolution in the power sector, and a total overhauling of the personnel, the country would keep going backward.

He added that it was inhuman to collect money without implementing the contract, noting that there were many instances where money had been released for the project and the contractor refused to mobilise site.

During our on-the-spot assessment, a contactor was mobilised but never went to site in Kabba.

The House, therefore, mandated its Committee on Power to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the operational and financial activities of the NDPHC including all contracts awarded by the company since 2004 and report to the House in four weeks.