The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday detained two top officials of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), the company which supervised execution of the $16 billion failed power projects.
The officials are Head of Finance Marvel Emefiele and Head of Compensation Eze M. C. Odigbo.
They are expected to account for the N850 million earmarked as compensation to communities where components of the power project were sited
Others in EFCC’s net are Managing Director of Pivot Engineering Mr. Richard Ayibiowu and the Managing Director of Chris Ejik Nigeria Limited Mr. Christain Ejik Imoka.
Detectives are on the trail 18 more suspects including two former governors, a former chairman of a bank and a former chairman of an airline.
About 15 more companies are also on the EFCC radar, it was learnt last night. There are fears that some of the suspects might have secretly relocated abroad.
President Muhammadu Buhari has repeatedly wondered how $16 billion was spent on power and there is no electricity generated. He subsequently ordered a probe into the expenditure.
A source in the anti-graft commission said: “The NPDHC officials are being detained by the EFCC, following their alleged involvement in bogus payment and diversion of about N850million compensation to communities where the components of the power projects were sited.
“Investigation revealed that approval was granted for the payment of N84billion to the communities where transmission lines of the power project are meant to be laid.
“Investigators discovered that there were serious issues arising from the payment of the compensation to the communities.
“Though about N50 billion compensation was said to have been paid to the communities, the contractors were said to have been prevented from working by the communities over non- payment of the same compensation which the NPDHC records claimed had been paid.
“Emefiele was said to have approved the payment of N850million as NPDHC Head of Finance while Odigbo, Head of Compensation reportedly effected the compensation to the communities. The two officials are being quizzed over the propriety of the matter.
“The Managing Director of Pivot Engineering, Mr. Richard Ayibiowu, is being detained over alleged payment of N350million to the communities. Part of LOT 8 of the power project, Ihiala /Orlu Transmission Line, was not executed by Pivot Engineering due to the alleged claim of hostility by the communities while about N350million was on record as paid to the same communities. Mr. Oba Otudeko is the chairman of Pivot Engineering.”
“The Managing Director of Chris Ejik Nigeria Limited, Mr. Christain Ejik Imoka, is being detained over controversial payment of N500million contract LOT 14, which ought to include Lekki-Ajah Transmission Line, which was not executed. But money was paid to that effect.
“The detained officials allegedly failed to honour previous invitations from the commission.”
The source said: “We have invited about 15 companies implicated in the mismanagement of funds meant for the power projects. One of the firms got four contracts but was only able to put in place 30 per cent of the construction. The firm also claimed that it imported certain materials since 2013 and lying in Onne Port without clearing.”
To have approved the payment of N850million as NPDHC Head of Finance while Odigbo, Head of Compensation reportedly effected the compensation to the communities. The two officials are being quizzed over the propriety of the matter.