Senate to probe Igali over alleged N3.5b scam

Godknows Boladei Igali

Godknows Boladei Igali

Investigate abandoned N500m TV projects 

BARELY a week after the Permanent Secretary in the Power Ministry, Godknows Igali, disclosed that N2.74 trillion had been spent in the drive for better electricity supply since 1999 without anything to show for it, the public servant himself is to be investigated over some alleged scams in the sector.

The Senate has received a petition accusing Igali of diverting N3.5 billion meant for payment of beneficiaries of the National Power Sector Apprenticeship Scheme (NAPSAS), The Guardian has learned.

In a petition submitted to the Chairman of Senate Adhoc Committee on Power, Abubakar Kyari, NAPSAS alleged that the ministry recruited 7,200 youths for the apprenticeship scheme which was expected to last for six months, but stopped abruptly.

According to the petition, each participant in the scheme was expected to be paid N20, 000 stipend monthly for six months, after which they may be absorbed into the power sector, but that is not to be at the moment due to alleged failure of the perm sec to implement the programme to the fullest, even after N3.5 billion had been budgeted for it since last year.

The petition was signed by‎ leaders of the participants in the training scheme, Onyemelikeya Chukwuma and Balogun Tirimisiyu. They said: “It is in view of the foregoing that we, the ad hoc excos of the NAPSAS trainees, plead with your esteemed committee to:

• Investigate, with a view to ascertaining the veracity or otherwise, the allegation of fixing of the funds meant for this programme by Ministry of Power (under Ambassador Godknows Igali) and NAPSAS (under Mrs. Sybil Williamson, the coordinator) in interest-yielding accounts in Aso savings/Loans and other commercial banks in Abuja. And if found to be true, who authorized the fixing and for what purpose?;

• compel Igali to refund the balance of N2000 to each of the trainees paid in February 2015 and to explain why they were paid N18,000 as against N20,000 budgeted for each trainee. And to pay all the trainees their allowances from February to June 2015, including the accrued interest!;

•compel the permanent secretary to explain why other trainees outside Abuja were not paid in February, and all the trainees, other months till date. Also, what has happened to the funds meant for these payments, for these past months?;

• investigate why, despite the fact that less than half of 7,400 trainees budgeted for are actually undergoing this exercise, NAPSAS and Federal Ministry of Power keep bandying that figure (7,400) as the number being trained. We suspect that this is a ploy to misinform Nigerians in order to divert/misappropriate the remainder of funds meant for the programme, especially in view of the change in government and the new administration may not have indicated interest in continuing the programme!;

• run a background check of the personality of the Coordinator of NAPSAS Programme, Mrs. Sybil Williamson, especially during her sojourn in the UK. We attached forthwith some findings of one Mrs. Sybil Williamson, a Nigerian, whom we think relates to her person and we are seriously worried why such a character, if she is the one under reference, should be allowed to coordinate such a sensitive programme that requires high degree of personal integrity and financial transparency;

• compel Mrs. Williamson to explain her recent statement during NTA interview on Friday 4th September 2015 that they (NAPSAS) have successfully completed the training of first batch of the trainees and had paid them all, even when she is aware that such insinuation is a deliberate act of deception of the innocent public;

• compel Ambassador Igali to tell Nigerian public the names and contacts of over 600 NAPSAS trainees whom he claimed to have completely trained and offered employment through the DISCOS. He claimed this through one Mr. Oyedeji of Ministry of Power as reported by Daily Trust of September 1, 2015; and

• compel Igali to step aside as the permanent secretary, Ministry of Power, while the investigations are on.” The petitioners said: “Finally, we also note here that Ambassador Igali and Mrs Williamson have resorted to misinforming the public that non- genuine trainees and some wrong people with MSc. and Phd, who ride in all sorts of cars, have found their way into the programme and they are trying to fish them out, also that some of the trainees submitted wrong account details and that is why they have not paid them.

This is contrary to what they had told us before now (as well as our observation) as reason our payment could not be made, as we have stated them in this letter. “In conclusion, a lot of things are obviously amiss with the handling and handlers of this programme which should be thoroughly unearthed.

That is the reason we invite your committee to move in. We shall continue to challenge systems that encourage poverty and corruption!” The petitioners explained that “‎NAPAS is a capacity building programme that was initiated by the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Power, for various categories of unemployed Nigeria youths, in November 2014 with the overall purpose of bridging skilled manpower gaps currently experienced in the power sector. “In the programme guideline, it was stipulated that the total number of participants will be 7400 from across the federation, with 200 participants each to be drawn from the 36 states and the FCT.”

Also yesterday, the Senate President Bukola Saraki said the Upper Chamber would begin a thorough investigation of circumstances that led to the abandonment of the National Assembly television worth over N500 million.

Located‎ inside National Assembly premises, the television project was initiated to give publicity to parliamentary activities in the country, particularly those of the Senate and House of Representatives.

It was gathered that a broadcast licence has been obtained for the studio which is yet to take off. It was one of the projects inspected by Saraki last week.

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  • Simon Jeggi

    Kudos to the Committee. Let them investigate and suggest proper sanctions to those whom committed offence

  • ebidou

    I smell a rat in this petition. Having read through the complaint it appears it is all sour grapes and an attempt by some unscrupulous people to ride on the anti-corruption mood in the country to rubbish the image of the permanent secretary Ministry of Power. There are several inconsistent allegations which makes it look like a hurried work.

    I also have issues with editors and their choice of words. How can a respectable paper like Guardian come up with such a sensational headline? I wonder if they know the meaning of the word, Scam. What is scam about a petition?

    • Dunamis2014

      Why are you in a defensive mode over this matter? Does it have anything to do with the ethnicity of the permanent secretary? It is best we await the findings of the investigating committee over this matter. I am afraid for Nigeria, with this kind of mentality. When are we ever going to be impartial, especially when a matter involves our kinsman?

  • New Nigerian

    The fact is that PDP progressively ran an opaque, irresponsible, corrupt-by-choice, lawless government in the past 16 years…there were moments of sanity, but of the most part, operationally it was a sham. And this is not saying Obasanjo or Jonathan personally soiled their hands, it is saying that the system they ran was opaque and un-hinged the check-and-balances that had served the country well prior. The budget exercise was simply a cash-sharing exercise, accruals meant nothing, actual work done in the field and facts on ground meant nothing. It was just enough for a Ministry or the Senate or any other organ to be allocated a budget – then they cash it and do whatever they like with the money. No budget monitoring, no correlation between deliverables and money obtained….it took the fear of God by individuals to see any modicum of development/spending money for what they said they were budgeted for…..Today it is Igali & power sector, it is only representative of all federal sectors, state and even local government…we are evolving from a dark period indeed – we knew this, the whole world knew this and God helped us to turn the page. Now the handwork must be done mop up all these commonwealth shared into private accounts the world over – it’s going to be hard work, but it is doable and we have confidence in the leadership of President Buhari to get this done. May God’s hand be over our blessed representatives, the change agents from the presidency to every leadership level in our society, including family level. So help us God

  • emmanuel kalu

    until we develop a process whereby fund are handle by less people, we might continue to get this kind of things.

  • Benbella

    I don’t believe its NEWS at all, even all the past PMS should be investigated before him, as well as the past PHCH ( MD ) , they have dirty hands on the Power money as well, Majority of the Power contracts went to prefer Companies owned by them through Asia Companies in Transmission line projects and parts supply alright .,

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  • Olumoyegun Matthew

    Many Scam in Power sector!!!!
    I live in Awolowo area of Oworoshoki Lagos state and the last time we had power supply was in April 2015. The transformer of the area( Miyaki, Alonge, Awolowo etc) was damaged due to overloading and Ikeja PHCN ( Shomolu district) refused to repair or replace it to another one. Instead they( some Engineers/Technician assigned for the Job) asked us to contribute 5 million naira for them to replace it to which we refused. We told them PHCN is a profit organization and we expect them to have spares to work with since transformer is an important component they used to make money.

    All efforts to reach their senior personnel in IKEJA PHCN proved abortive. Nigerians plese help us beg PHCN IKEJA DISTRIBUTION TO URGENTLY replace the faulty TRANSFORMER and restore POWER to our area.

    – See more at:

  • benny agafa

    Ebidou, i know of someone who complained to me last year and one of the apprentice that during the inauguration, after the minister of finance came and told them all their entitlement and left another director told them then and then that what she said was not truth and that they will soon know the reality on the ground. I believe 80% of the so called petition.

  • Auta62

    There is no respite yet in the power sector.

  • Obamwonyi Emmanuel Nosayaba

    if we must be reasonable, Onyemelikeya Chukwuma and Balogun Tirimisiyu to me simply want to slander the good reputation of the Perm sec. the petitions to me are just ‘falseful elementary story line ” wanting to take adavantage of the “anticorruption atmosphere”…… firstly,I wonder how u found your way to the senate with the 18k you claimed you were you pay your transport fares to your training site on daily basis? secondly, my friend was a participant and there was never such complain, so where is all this coming from? lastly, I am very much willing to train you on how to install all satellites so that idleness will not completely eat up your mind. just follow me on twitter @myfullname and I will introduce you to others I will commence traning for from 20th of this month…