Private firm withheld FG’s N32bn metre fund for 20 years -Adelabu

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The Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, has explained how a private company reportedly held on to N32bn paid into its account in 2003 for the supply of three million prepaid metres.

According to a statement by the minister’s Special Adviser, Strategic Communications and Media Relations, Bolaji Tunji, on Wednesday, the Federal Government had entered a tripartite agreement with Messrs Ziklagsis Network Limited and Unistar International in 2003 for the supply of three million meters to distribution companies in the country, within three years.

The statement indicated that to kick start the project, a revolving metering loan of N32bn was released to Messrs Ziklagsis.

“The agreement was not implemented while the fund remained in the bank account of Ziklagsis at the then Prudent Bank from where it moved to Skye Bank, Polaris and lately, Providus Bank,” the statement

With the privatisation of distribution, Adelabu said the government proposed the metering of Ministries, Departments and Agencies in order to accurately determine the consumption of these MDAs and also reduce accumulated debts, saying “This was what led to the initiative to metre military formations nationwide.”

While debunking reports that due process was not followed in the mass metering project of military formations, which began last week, Adelabu recalled that the Nigerian Army, worried by its huge electricity debt, wrote a letter to the presidency requesting intervention to pay off the outstanding debt and the metering of their formations.

The Federal Government, he said, directed the ministry to look into the Army’s request and utilise the N32bn with Ziklagsis.

The statement added, “It was then that Ziklagsis was introduced to the Nigerian Army by the Ministry of Power. It was around this period that the Nigerian Army also introduced De Haryor Global Services to Ziklagsis to enable them to work together.

“In November 2022, discussion began on the project among the parties and an agreement was signed between the Nigerian Army as a client, Messrs Ziklagsis as project supervisor and De Haryor Global Services as a service provider to commence the metering projects in Army barracks at a cost of N12.7billion, under the MDAs metering project. This predates the appointment of Adelabu as Minister of Power. In spite of this, the money was not released to the service provider that had already gone ahead to seek funds for the acquisition of smart metres.

“Concerned about the over eight million metre gap in the country and the liquidity squeeze in the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry, the minister wondered how money meant for a national project could be held up untouched for over 20 years by an individual.

“He, therefore, mounted pressure and escalated the matter to the presidency for the retrieval of the revolving fund from Messrs Ziklagsis plus accrued interest to date. This was duly approved by the President. Upon the President’s approval, N12.7 billion was therefore to be released in tranches to De Haryor Global Services to commence installation of already procured smart meters.

“The minister should therefore be commended for his effort in ensuring the recovery of the revolving metre fund which had been untouchable for over 20 years, thus enabling the eventual take-off of the project.”

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