India Firm, TCN in Trouble over $24.705m Contract

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EFCC quizzes top officials of transmission firm

Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja

An India firm, Transformer & Rectifiers (India) Limited and Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) are in trouble over $24.705 million contract involving a job at TCN to execute a contract for the supply of power equipment to Ojo Stores in Lagos.

An operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) told THISDAY that even though the matter is currently at the Federal High Court, Abuja, some senior officials at the Special Project Unit of TCN have been invited for interrogation.

The controversial contract, which the EFCC’s source said was “heavily padded,” took a different dimension when one of the parties to the contract, P-NEC Nigeria Limited, petitioned the EFFC, alleging “criminal breach of trust, intention to defraud and conspiracy’’ against Transformer & Rectifiers (India) Limited and one Vishal Pathak.

In the petition dated September 14, 2020, which was received at the Office of Chairman, EFCC, on September 16, 2020, the petitioner, through its lawyer, Enoch Esther, explained that in October 2018, an official of the Transformer & Rectifier Limited approached it for a business transaction, resulting in the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between both parties.

“In the said agreement, it was clearly stipulated that our client shall be the exclusive promoter of the Transformer & Rectifier (India) Ltd in Nigeria as it relates to power and distribution of transformers and it was equally stipulated that the transformer & Rectifiers (India) Ltd shall pay our client 10 per cent of the worth of any contract facilitated by our client,’’ the petitioner stated.

P-NEC Nigeria Ltd added that when it saw an opening for the bidding of a job at TCN to execute a contract for the supply of power equipment, it contacted the Transformer and Rectifier to bid for the contract, saying the India company later mandated it to bid for the contract, which it did.

The petitioner added, “The contract from TCN was worth the sum of $24,705,955.64 and immediately the contract was awarded, officials of the Transformer and Rectifier (India) Limited came to Nigeria for the perfection of the contract at a meeting, which was held at TCN and which had a representative of our clients in attendance.

“Subsequently, the said contract facilitated by our client was indeed satisfactorily and properly executed as stipulated in the contract but instead of paying our client the money due to it from the contract as earlier agreed upon by the Transformer & Rectifier (India) Limited, it refused to do so.’’

Going by the MoU signed by Mr. Anjum and Satyen Mamtora on behalf of both parties, which is made available to THISDAY, Transformer & Rectifier was to pay “the sales commission of amount of $99,000 per transformer under contract number HL/T & R/T.24/03/AI/M/ABJ dated 10.09.2018 for the supply of 02 nos. of 50/60 MVA, 132/33KV Power Transformers in Nigeria.’’

In an email dated May 27, 2019 sent by a representative of Transformer & Rectifier (India) Ltd, Viplov Singh (viplov.singh@transformerindia.com), while forwarding the company offer for the contract to P-NEC Limited (ishaq_anjum@yahoo.com), the India company said: “Please find our offer for the recent TCN tender towards the supply of power transformer, Earthing Transformer and Earthing Reactor on CFR Lagos basis.

“The said offer is excluding your commission. You may add suitably the figures towards your commission, but please, ensure the figures should have 10 % TDS included in it as we need to pay the taxes here to the banks at the time of processing your commission.’’

An operative of the EFCC, who is investigating the controversial contract, told THISDAY that “it is the $1.2 million, which P-NEC Nigeria Limited built into the contract with the knowledge of a senior staff of Special Project Unit of TCN, and which Transformer & Rectifier (India) Ltd was expected to pay P-NEC Nigeria Ltd, that is the bone of contention to both parties.

“EFCC is also aware that 19 companies did bid for the TCN’s contract; and Transformer & Rectifier (India) Ltd came seventh. So, on what basis was the contract awarded to the company? These are the issues we are investigating. And some of the senior officials of TCN have been invited for interrogation.’’

When contact on the matter, the General Manager (Public Affairs), TCN, Mrs Ndidi Mba, declined to discuss the issue, saying the matter is already in court.

An email sent to Jitender Mamtora and Satyen Mamtora, the Chairman and the Managing Director of Transformer & Rectifier (India) Ltd respectively for reaction, was referred to the company’s lawyer, Mallam Mohammed Shuaib.

In a letter dated December 3, 2020 sent to THISDAY – over its enquiry, the lawyer while asking for more information to enable his client respond, threatened to take legal action against anything that impugns on the integrity and reputation of his client.