RE: EXPOSED: Bureau Of Public Enterprises Diverts N14billion PHCN Sales Proceeds Into Private Banks.
Ordinarily, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) does not join issues with its stakeholders in any privatization process, but we are constrained to put the records straight given the deliberate and constant disinformation on the proceeds from the privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) which was carried out in 2013.
Much as we would not want to question the opinion of individuals/media on national issues nay our privatisation processes, we wish to reiterate that our processes are transparent and in accordance with international best practices. That is why the power sector privatisation in particular, undertaken by BPE has been commended by local players and the international community.
First, it was a report which appeared in several newspapers recently with the headline: AuGF REPORT REVEALS HOW BPE OFFICIALS DIVVERTED N2.5BN PHCN PROCEEDS TO BUY PROPERTIES IN ASO SAVINGS which we gave a detailed explanation on what transpired including among others, the approval obtained by the BPE on 25th February, 2014, from the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) to establish a banking relationship with Aso Savings and Loans Plc.
Thus, the BPE subsequently, made a placement in the sum of N2.5 billion in the account to facilitate access to cheap finance for the Bureau’s staff housing scheme but the staff were not able to access the money.
Following the Federal Government’s directive on 14th September, 2015 that all funds held with Commercial Banks be transferred to the Bureau’s Treasury Single Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, it was discovered that Aso Savings & Loans Plc could not meet its deposit repayment obligations.As a result, on 18th October, 2016, Aso Savings and Loans Plc proposed a repayment plan as follows:
- Property swap valued at N1.52 billion: Under this arrangement, ownership of some completed properties that are ready for sale will be ceded to the Bureau in partial satisfaction of the stranded deposits; and
- Cash repayment of N1.25 billion: This entailed a bullet transfer of N70million per month until the amount was extinguished.
Despite the arrangement, Aso Savings and Loans Plc. defaulted in meeting its obligations under the agreement. As a result, the Bureau has made several demands to ASL which has remained elusive till date.
Not done with casting the image of the Bureau in bad light, our detractors who obviously are on a smear campaign have sponsored yet another story on the power proceeds with the headline: EXPOSED: Bureau Of Public Enterprises Diverts N14billion PHCN Sales Proceeds Into Private Banks.
According to the report, this was revealed in the Auditor-General of the Federation 2017 report! We wonder why it takes the purveyors of the fake news four clear years to publish what happened in the 2016 financial year and make it sensational.
Truth of the matter is that BPE did not and has not diverted proceeds of the PHCN privatisation as all the proceeds were paid in to the Privatisation Proceed Account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). It must be noted that these proceeds were used to settle the severance benefits of staff of the defunct PHCN as agreed by the Federal Government and labour. If then, the funds were diverted, how could this feat have been achieved?
We call on our various stakeholders and the general public to discountenance the smear reports against the BPE as we are prepared to at all times, as a responsible parastatal of the Federal Government, charged with reforms, privatization, Concession and Commercialisation, to carry out our mandate responsibly and with integrity.
Amina Tukur Othman
Head, Public Communications
December 23, 2020.