On the sale of 70% equity of First Independent Power Limited by Rivers State Government under the former Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi (currently the Minister of Transportation), the commission said the transaction not only lacked transparency but was actually carried out in flagrant violation of S.52 of the Rivers State Public Procurement Law No.4 of 2008.
The transaction, according to the White Paper, robbed Rivers State government of millions of dollars totalling $116,552,042.46 which the eventual buyer, NG Power-HPS Limited, and others including Sahara Energy Resources and Mr. Tonye Cole are yet to pay to Rivers State government.
The White Paper states: “The Commission finds that the entire transaction for the sale of 70% equity of First Independent Power Limited by Rivers State Government under the former Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi to NG Power-HPS Limited not only lacked transparency but was actually carried out in flagrant violation of S.52 of the Rivers State Public Procurement Law No.4 of 2008.
“The commission finds that the Rivers State Government Executive Council at its 19th Executive Council Meeting held on 15th and 16th August, 2012 approved the sale of 70 percent equity of the State-owned First Independent Power Limited (FIPL) to NG Power-HPS Limited, comprising Omoku Gas Turbine (150MW), Eleme Gas Turbine (75MW), Trans-Amadi Gas Turbine (136MW), and Afam PhaseI (180MW) Gas Turbine at the unit price of $800,000.00 USD per mega-watt which multiplied by 541 mega-watts amount to $432,800,000.00USD; and 70% of which amounted to $302,960,000.00 USD.
“The Commission further finds that based on the above transaction, the Rivers State Government handed over the management of First Independent Power Limited to NG Power-HPS Limited; that so far only the sum of $274,563,559.59USD had been paid to the Rivers State Government by NG Power-HPS Limited leaving an outstanding balance of $28.4 million; and that NG Power-HPS Limited is nothing but a subsidiary of Sahara Energy Resources Limited, one of whose Directors is one Tonye Cole.
“Government accepts this finding but notes that the actual sum of money due and payable to the Government of Rivers State by NG Power-HPS Limited under the power sale contract is $116,552,042.46, made up as follows:
· $63,456,440.41USD being outstanding balance on the purchase price of $302,960,000.00;
· $53,95,000,602.05 USD being monies transferred from Rivers State Government domiciliary account from the Access Bank to Sahara Energy Resources Limited as a purported repayment of a non-existing loan.
“Accordingly government directs the Office of the Honourable Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice to utilize the appropriate machinery for the recovery of these sums of money from NG Power-HPS Limited, Sahara Energy Resources Limited, Tonye Cole, and all other persons involved in this fraudulent transaction.
“The Commission finds that 30% of the shares in First Independent Power Limited totaling 3,000,000 ordinary shares are still vested in the Government of Rivers State; out of which 2,999,996 of the shares are held by Ministry of Finance Incorporated on behalf of the Rivers State Government, while the remaining 4 (four) shares are held by nominees in the ratio of one share each, and which nominees are:
· Samuel Ijeoma (retired Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power), representing the Rivers State Government.
· Mrs. Mina Benebo (retired Solicitor-General & Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice) representing the Rivers State Government.
· Minabelem Michael West (former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power) representing the Rivers State Government.
· Dr. Ernest Ibekwe Ekwe, a private individual, representing the Rivers State Government.
“Government directs that the four shares held by individual nominees should be recovered and replaced by Ministry of Finance and Incorporated, as two of the nominees are retired Permanent Secretaries, while the third is a serving Permanent Secretary and former Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Power, while the 4th nominee is a private individual.”