‘Rivers ministry unaware of $302.9m receipt for turbines’
THE Rivers State Ministry of Power has denied knowledge of payment of $302,960,000 from the sale of the state-owned four gas turbines by the administration of former Governor Chibuike Amaechi to NG Power Limited.
The Permanent Secretary, Nwaobisike Emeka Peter, told the Justice George Omereji-led commission of inquiry investigating sale of state assets in Port Harcourt that the facilities had installed capacity of 541 megawatts, adding that the immediate past government sold off the state’s 70 equity share in First Independent Power Company to NG Power Limited without open bid at $800,000 per megawatt.
According to him, the state ought to have been paid $432,800,000 as against the $302,960,000 allegedly paid without the knowledge of the ministry.
“Neither the Permanent Secretary, directors nor members of the Board of First Independent Power Company were aware of the payment of the sale of the turbines. The payment should come to the Ministry of Power and we transfer to the Ministry of Finance. That is due process,” he said.
Peter added that there was no document authenticating the sale of the four turbines: Omoku (150 megawatts), Trans Amadi (136 megawatts), Afam (180 megawatts) and Eleme (75 megawatts) to the buyer, which was responsible for operation and maintenance of the facilities.
He pointed out that his ministry superintends over the turbines and there was no document whatsoever suggesting their sale and also capturing the N5,425,755,119.50 allegedly paid for the acquisition of Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company.
Peter clarified that he was totally sidelined in the entire process, as according to him, during one of the investment meetings regarding the matter at hand, he was sent out by the then Commissioner of Power, Augustine Wokocha, claiming that the Ministry of Finance was in charge. He also claimed to have contested the use of a private lawyer to the exclusion of those from the office of the Attorney General of the state during the meeting.
Peter further intimated the investigating panel that when he assumed office in December 2013, he met former Governor Amaechi to know the involvement of the state in the power consortium owned by Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Cross River and Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company of which he was directed to Wokocha, who purportedly declined him briefing.
According to the permanent, Wokocha was the one who told him that 70 per cent of the power firm had been sold but showed no evidence.