The Senate committee on Public Accounts said it is set to probe the alleged mismanagement of N50 billion realised from the sale of Egbin, Omotosho and Olorunsogo power plants in 2013 by the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET).

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, said the probe became necessary as a result of the 2015 report of the office of the Auditor-General of the Federation (AuGF), which signaled the alleged mismanagement of the public funds realised from sale of the power stations.

The query by the AuGF to the NBET over the transaction reads in part: “Funds in form of escrow in the possession of Egbin Escrow agreement FCMB Escrow Account BPE/NBET 2435507018-N30,000,000.000, UBA Escrow Account BPE/NBET 1017699148 – N10,000,000,000.00, FBN Escrow Account BPE/NBET 2024063360 – N10,000,000,000.00

“The following observations were made: there was no execution date, as the agreement only stated 2013.
“This has been left out deliberately and arouses suspicion of malpractices. This is evidenced by a mail sent by the Legal Counsel to the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) asking for this information, which was never replied to.

“As stated in the original draft agreement, the rate of interest generated on escrow funds shall be agreed between BPE, NBET and the escrow agents (banks) but subsequent manipulated agreement sighted states that ‘the interest shall be concessionary taking into account a reasonable compensation of the escrow agents in the consideration for their obligation under the agreement.”

The AuGF report also queried the rationale behind the meager interest rate of 0.5 per cent negotiated for escrow adding that uncertainties surround the status of the account

It also demanded that the minutes of the meeting that decided the concessionary rate and the obligation of the escrow agents necessitating any form of consideration as well as the identities of the attendants and parties to the proposed and implemented 0.025 per cent interest on the escrow fund should be produced.

However, the Senate stated that N5,000,000,000 would have been realised on the investment of the mismanaged funds in Nigeria Treasury Bills at an interest rate of 10 per cent.

By Peace Obi

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