Monday, 19 March 2012

Akpabio Makes Secret Moves To “Sell” Ibom Power Plant

  Godswill Akpabio
Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom has entered into a negotiation to divest state funds invested in the 190 megawatt power plant located in Ikot Abasi, southern Akwa Ibom. Critics of the move told SaharaReporters that the governor appeared determined to make a deal with Elsewedy Power, an Egyptian-owned company with little or no experience in the area of power generation.

Several sources in Akwa Ibom told SaharaReporters that they were worried that the governor’s talks to sell the power plant under the guise of privatization raised troubling questions including the lack of transparency.
Two of the sources reported that key players in Akpabio government had been recruited to act as fronts to facilitate the deal to sell the plant.
A key concern for our sources is that proceeds of similar divestments in Amakpe Refineries, Universal Energy and a host of other government owned companies cannot be traced in the state treasury. The secretive manner in which previous transactions were handled, included their proceeds, have fueled suspicions that the funds may have been diverted to private pockets.
Akwa Ibom State receives an average of N15 billion each month as oil derivation funds. Still, reckless governmental spending and lack of accountability have kept the standard of living in the state at deplorable levels.
SaharaReporters learnt that Wael Hanndy, an executive of  Elsewedy Power, is currently on a visit to Akwa Ibom to fine-tune and conclude the deal. The company has been handpicked to buy the plant.

One source revealed that Governor Akpabio received Mr. Hanndy, a vice president of the power company at the state capital. At the meeting, the governor reportedly promised the state’s willingness to partner with Elsewedy Power.
Mr. Akpabio went further: ''If you are interested in investing in the power sector, we can negotiate in the best interest of the state, privatize the IPP  and relinquish majority shares to your company.''
Elsewedy is an Egyptian power equipment vendor involved in the procurement of power distribution transformers. The company recently secured a $25 million transformer procurement deal with Lagos state government and has a base in Badagry where the imported components are assembled.
A critic of Akpabio’s “privatization” plan said it was an open secret that “Elsewedy is merely seeking a market for its power transformers in Nigeria.”
Investigations by SaharaReporters revealed that the company has no expertise in the management of a power plant as claimed but specializes in making components for power projects on demand.

By Saharareporters


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