Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) and anti-graft agencies to fast-track prosecution of all cases of corruption in the electricity sector.
SERAP’S Deputy Director, Mr. Kolawole Oluwadare, in a statement yesterday, asked Malami, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), to ensure effective recoveries of all stolen public funds.
Oluwadare said the call was agreed upon at the Policy Dialogue on Promoting Transparency and Accountability in the Judiciary, Education and Electricity sectors, organised by SERAP, in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation, USA.
“The case of the Ramsome Owan-led Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the investigation of Mr. Goodknows Ighali on the alleged diversion of funds of workers of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria.
“The ICPC should make public the status of the investigation and recommendations for prosecution if any on the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) Recruitment Scandal.
“This includes the jumbo Pay Scandal given the fact that the Nigerian Government and public have 40 per cent stakes in the AEDC.
“The EFCC should revisit the Elumelu report on the Rural Electrification scandal and ensure that all suspected perpetrators are brought to justice,” he said.
According to Oluwadare, SERAP, the EFCC and ICPC should scrutinise, prioritise and conclude pending investigations of all power sector-related cases and make report public where applicable, as well as bring to justice suspected perpetrators.
He said that the EFCC and ICPC should probe metering and billing fraud and corruption as most consumers were unhappy with their billing methodology and felt short-changed by the operators.
“SERAP’s 15-Point Programme read, in part: for proper metering, electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) must take a proper and comprehensive collation of all power consumers in their jurisdictions before issuing new meters under Direct Purchases or Credited Advanced Payment for Metering Implementation (CAPMI) systems,” he said.
“DISCOs must urgently undertake initiatives to re-number and re-classify all electricity consumers in Nigeria for the purpose of issuing new meters. The NERC must shoulder the responsibility on this aspect,” he said.
Oluwadare said that the minister should take measures to obtain, widely publish and act on the report of the Elumelu House Probe Committee which accused 21 persons and 36 companies of subversion of government policy on due process.
He urged government and NERC to adopt and publish citizens’ charters in the electricity sector, spelling out the rights and responsibilities of consumers and conferring on them the right to receive good and quality service from power service providers.
This, he said was for independent monitoring and public participation in policy formulation and decision-making.
He said that the federal government, National Assembly, State Governments, and the judiciary should work with anti-corruption institutions, Civil Society Organisations and donor agencies to improve the capacity of institutions and actors within the justice to promote justice, transparency and good governance.