NBET audit head counters NERC, insists there’s N2bn over-payment

The Head Internal Audit of the Nigeria Bulk Electricity trading Plc (NBET), Mallam Sambo Abdullahi, has countered the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on its position that the NBET’s Managing Director, Ms Marilyn Amobi, did not overpay two power plants by N2 billion.

NERC had in a statement it issued in March said its investigation revealed that the payments to Olorunsogo and Omotosho power plants by NBET are in line with the power purchase agreement, while the allegation of fraud raised by the petitioners could not be substantiated.

But Abdullahi in a statement he issued to react to NERC’s position and media reports, a copy which was obtained by Blueprint in Abuja Thursday, insisted that the pre-payment audit carried out on the payment vouchers on the two plants revealed that there were shoddy deals.

He said: “I am one of the management staff mentioned in the above captioned story published by TheCable on March 1, 2019. I wish to state that the pre-payment audit carried out on the payment vouchers as enshrined under the Financial Regulations on both Olorunsogo and Omotosho revealed the shoddy deals.

“The Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) for Olorunsogo Power Plc and Omotosho Power Plc were executed in December 24, 2013 and August 20, 2014, respectively while the NERC Order which guides the operation of the Transitional Electricity Market (TEM) takes effect from February 1, 2015, but dated March 18, 2015. Contract Activation Agreement between NBET and individual generating plants including both Olorunsogo and Omotosho was executed on February 1, 2016.

“Clause 2 of the PPA Contract Activation Agreement requires the Gencos to provide a legally binding and enforceable Gas Supply Aggregation Agreement (GSAA) and Gas Transportation Agreement (GTA) in order to access capacity payments for Availability Events scenario which Olorunsogo and Omotosho did not possess as at the time the transaction was queried in September 2016.

 “This assertion that both plants did not have GSAA and GTA can be evidenced in the last paragraph of the NBET MD’s letter addressed to Omotosho Power Plc demanding for the evidence of their GSAA and GTA dated September 22, 2016 and is herewith attached.

“Furthermore, the meeting between NBET management and the law firm of Dr Paul C. Ananaba SAN & Co (law firm to Olorunsogo and Omotosho) held in December 14, 2016 at the premises of NBET aimed to cover up on illegal payments to both Olorunsogo and Omotosho among all the existing thermal plants that have inactive PPA with NBET is an attestation that even as at December 2016, the plants had no GSAA and GTA.

“Undertakings for continuous invoice payments to Olorunsogo and Omotosho by Mr Yesufu Longe and Nnaemeka Ewelukwa is a further attestation that the GSAA and GTA were NOT available when the audit query was raised’’.

Abdullahi, a Deputy  General Manager at NBET, who said he appeared before NERC management on the issue, said: “As explained above, the payment violates Clause 3.2.2 of the PPA, Clause 2 of the PPA Contract Activation Agreement and the NERC Order. The payments were in gross violation of executed PPAs and Activation Agreements between NBET and the power plants.”

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