The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has released a new report which reveals how over N11 trillion meant to provide regular electricity supply was allegedly squandered under the governments of former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.
The 65 pages’ report launched on Wednesday at the Westown Hotels, Lagos is titled: “From Darkness to Darkness: How Nigerians are Paying the Price for Corruption in the Electricity Sector”.
The report presented to the media by Yemi Oke, Ass. Professor, Energy/Electricity Law, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, discloses that “the country has lost more megawatts in the post-privatisation era due to corruption, impunity, among other social challenges reflected in the report.”
According to the report, “The total estimated financial loss to Nigeria from corruption in the electricity sector starting from the return to democracy in 1999 to date is over Eleven Trillion Naira (N11 Trillion Naira). This represents public funds, private equity and social investment (or divestments) in the power sector.
It is estimated that it may reach over Twenty Trillion Naira (N20 Trillion Naira) in the next decade given the rate of government investment and funding in the power sector amidst dwindling fortune and recurrent revenue shortfalls.”
The report also accuses Dr. Ransom Owan-led board of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) of allegedly “settling officials with millions of Naira as severance packages and for embarrassing them with alleged Three Billion Naira (N3,000,000,000.00) Fraud.
The authorities must undertake a thorough, impartial and transparent investigation as to the reasons why corruption charges were withdrawn, and to recover any corrupt funds.”
The report further called for the reopening and effective prosecution of corruption allegations, including the alleged “looting of the benefits of families of the deceased employees of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) levelled against a former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Power, Godknows Igali.”
BY ADE AND JUDE