Power ministry refutes alleged N3.5b scam on NAPSAS

Power stationTHE Ministry of Power yesterday said petitioners who want the Senate to probe an alleged N3.5 billion scam on the National Power Sector Apprenticeship Scheme (NAPSAS) are distorting facts.

In a statement yesterday, the ministry proved wrong the claim that N3.5 billion was embezzled in the scheme. It said only the sum of N1.3 billion was released by the training programme.

The Deputy Director (Press) at the ministry, Timothy Oyedeji, said: “There are a number of fallacies that are raised in the said petition, the origin of the N3.5 billion is still unknown. What the ministry is aware of is a presidential approval of N1.3 billion to be sourced from the existing capital allocation to the ministry.

“Our attention at the Ministry of Power has been drawn to a report published on pages 1 – 2 of your Monday, September 14, 2015 edition, with above caption. The report claimed that a petition detailing wrongdoings against the Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Godknows Igali and the Programme Co-ordinator, Mrs. Sybil Williams, as having allegedly embezzled money in the sum of N3.5 billion meant to run a training programme for Nigerian youths.

“The training programme is to ensure that trainees undertake technical skills acquisition for six months to fill-in the gap within the manpower in the power sector.

“For a programme that was flagged off on November 6, 2014, cannot be immune from lack of budgetary releases, that have become epileptic, so even what has been made available so far for the programme is far less than the approved N1.3 billion. I wonder where these officials could have had access to N3.5 billion.

“To further rubbish NAPSAS, the report claimed that only 25 trainees attended the flag-off of the programme in Abuja whereas it is on record that 20 trainees per state, including the FCT, were invited for the event, the total number being 740 trainees.

“A recent report from Accountant-General’s office confirmed that no capital allocation were made from two quarters last year (2014), while none has been released this year (2015). It is against all odds that the ministry has kept NAPSAS programme on track.”

He further said: “The approved stipend for the participants is N18,000 and not N20,000 as quoted by the report.

“We are constrained again to reiterate that NAPSAS programme was meant to train artisans/technicians and not engineers as erroneously quoted. So, the Permanent Secretary would not have said that 600 engineers have been recruited after completing their training and had been offered employment into 11 Discos.

“It is however expedient to note that NAPTIN is responsible for the training of engineers who are to operate in the power sector.

“It is on record that after the completion of the course by the 1st batch of NAPSAS trainees, 288 NAPSAS graduates have been absorbed into some discos and other related power sector companies.

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