CONTROVERSY, FRAUD TRAIL BULK ELECTRICITY TRADING PLC BOSS, MARILYN AMOBI

The managing director of the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET), Marilyn Amobi, is in trouble over allegations of fraudulent payment of at least N2 billion to two power generating companies by the managing director of the agency, investigations by Leaks NG has revealed.

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Official documents reviewed by Leaks NG have shown that Mrs Amobi was also involved in a series of corruption allegations such as subversion of board approvals and infraction of procurement laws.

Daily Trust is a member of the Leaks NG, a collaborative investigative initiative of eight leading newsrooms in Nigeria, which provide a platform for Nigerians to submit evidence of wrongdoing by public office holders in the country.

 

Fraudulent payments to GENCOs

A few weeks after she was confirmed as substantive boss of NBET in July 2016, the organisation that manages the electricity pool in the country’s electricity supply industry, Mrs Amobi started overpaying two power generating companies – Omotosho Electric Genco and Olorunsogo Electric Company – in flagrant violation of the details of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) the companies signed with the government in February and August 2016, respectively.

The PPA is an agreement between NBET and power generating plants for the sale and purchase of energy generated by the plants. Embedded within the PPA are the Gas Supply Agreement (GSA) that covers the supply of natural gas to the generating plant and the Gas Transportation Agreement (GTA), which is an agreement between gas transporters and power generating plants.

According to the PPA, to qualify for full payment, generating plants must provide evidence that they have active GSA and GTA or else the power purchase agreement would be deemed inactive and would only receive payment for the power they supplied.

“Seller (Omotosho Genco) hereby agrees that any claim for Available Capacity payment under the PPA are conditional on the Seller providing evidence acceptable to the Buyer (NBET) confirming that it has a legally binding and enforceable Gas Supply and Aggregation Agreement and Gas Transportation Agreement, in accordance with clause 3.2.2 and 4.2.1 of the PPA,” the agreement obtained by Leaks NG stated.

However, despite the fact that Omotosho did not provide evidence of gas supply aggregation and transportation, the company continued to tender request for full payment 20 months. According to the document in possession of Leaks NG, the over-invoicing was detected in October 2017 following an NBET internal audit.

On September 22, 2016, NBET had written to Omotosho requesting that it fulfils the condition for the PPA. The generating company was first given a 30-day grace to provide the necessary document. The window to provide the document was later extended to 90 day, yet it never provided the document.

For instance, in June 2017, Omotosho supplied energy to the tune of 33.16 megawatts but invoiced up to 161.74 megawatts.

This implies that Omotosho laid claim to an excess of 128.58 megawatts as excess capacity for the cycle.

For this capacity, Omotosho requested for payment of N1,023,532,574 instead of N209,824,177, leaving an excess of N813,708,397 for the capacity in June 2016.

Similarly, Olorunsogo Power Plc, whose PPA took effect from August 2014 in the said month, tendered 11.9 megawatts for energy while 197.83 as capacity. Since the PPA was not active, the capacity ought to be equal to the energy to make the firm qualify for payment as stated in the agreement.

Olorunsogo issued an invoice of N1, 251, 881, 528 for capacity for June 2016 as against N75, 363, 267 calculated by its actual energy. The difference is an over-invoicing of N1, 176, 518, 261.

For both firms, the over-invoicing amounts to N1, 990, 226, 658 as excess in just one month, June 2016.

Leaks NG could not lay hold to all invoices issued by the companies, the two we obtained showed that NBET made partial payments to the companies.

In one of the invoices, Mrs Amobi paid Omotosho N339, 813, 418 in October 2016. The fund is part payment for July 2016 energy and capacity.

On the same date: October 11, 2016, NBET paid Olorunsogo N372, 498, 731 also as part payment for July.

These payments are clearly in breach of the PPA and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commi