The embattled MD/CEO of Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) – Dr Marilyn Amobi has gone on a self-styled terminal leave ahead of the end of her scandalous 4 years tenure. Dr Amobi was appointed on 25th July 2016 by the Presidency vide a letter of appointment from the Office of Secretary to the Federal Government of Nigeria with reference SGF.6/S.9/T/28.
Despite her continuous disregard and disrespect for constituted authorities, process and the rule of law; Dr Amobi has found willing puppets to do her biddings in the corridor of power. Very strangely, and in a rather suspicious manner, on 7th May 2020 through an announcement from the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning’s Special Assistant on media (https://aledeh.com/2020/05/07/buhari-appoints-zainab-ahmed-as-new-nbet-board-chairman/), an announcement of a reconstituted Board of Directors for NBET was made with Dr Amobi as the only executive on the Board; thus institutionalizing corruption in NBET. The earlier Board of Directors of NBET reconstituted in August 2018 chaired by the same person was never dissolved but yet another one reconstituted in May 2020 (https://thenationonlineng.net/n1-4tr-debts-bpe-writes-minister-over-suspension-of-nbet-board-meeting/e-writes-minister-over-suspension-of-nbet-board-meeting/). Time shall TELL.
Dr Amobi has been indicted severally (https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/372125-buhari-reinstates-official-indicted-for-corruption-by-efcc-icpc-auditor-general.html) but the power that be who are afraid from being exposed as they were part of frauds perpetration are still keeping her in the office. She has called the bluff of the EFCC, ICPC, BPP and Auditor General of the Federation saying that she is untouchable because of the unflinching conspiracy from the Presidency and the Ministry of Finance hence their inability to prosecute her in any Court of Law. She has further extended her rascality to the Federal House of Representatives, for which she claims the Speaker of the House (Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila) has also exonerated her of all corruption indictments. We have laid our hands on the documents of her indictments at various levels including the courts, thus one wonders how the Honourable Speaker could have exonerated her in the face of glaring evidences. We are yet to see any document reversing her indictment at any quarter.
With news of her ostensible terminal leave as reported in an article published on 29th April 2020 in Aljazirah Newspaper, https://aljazirahnews.com/marilyn-amobi-nbet-boss-indicted-in-messy-financial-scandal/ that Dr Amobi claimed to be on terminal leave when contacted; she was sighted in the office days after the report in her official capacity as the MD/CEO of NBET. A source at NBET disclosed that immediately a new Board of Directors was reconstituted and announced by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Dr Amobi in a rather untoward manner appointed Ms. Hauwa Bello (A secondee of OAGF to NBET) as interim MD/CEO for NBET to control the strings of management even from the luxurious comfort of her home.
Within the lockdown period, we were informed by sources that Amobi hurriedly awarded contracts running into multiple hundreds of millions of naira among which is the procurement of four luxury vehicles despite the economic depression, consultancy engagement for Biomass Power Generation and extended contract worth millions of naira for Messrs Babalakin law firm to pursue suits against unlawful dismissal of NBET staff or defamation suits against media houses on behalf of Amobi; the law firm has earned several millions of naira for a fruitless efforts as they kept on losing the cases and without procurement process in the engagement of the law firm. The costs are being borne by electricity consumers despite the fact that public officers or government agencies are barred by law from suing for defamation; yet the law firm cannot advise Dr Amobi appropriately.
It is evident that the number of vehicles acquired under the watch of Amobi in NBET outnumbers its staff strength. Most of the said NBET vehicles are offered as gratis to external persons including the regulator’s Vice Chairman who are engaged to do the nefarious bidding of Dr Amobi and cover her tracks, thus shielding her from the law.
The appointment of Hauwa Bello as proxy MD/CEO by Dr Amobi vide an email addressed to NBET staff dated May 7, 2020 reads in part “this is to notify you that Mrs Hauwa Bello (Head, Internal Audit) has been appointed as the Acting General Manager (Strategy and Coordination) in the office of the MD/CEO. Mrs Bello will oversee the affairs of the management and the administration of the office of the MD/CEO while retaining her position as the Head of Internal Audit.” By Public Service Rules and Processes, Dr Amobi is required to handover to the most senior staff of NBET prior to proceeding on terminal leave in the person of Dr Nnaemeka Ewelukwa (the pioneer Company Secretary and General Counsel). By this additional act, Dr Amobi has further displayed gross disregard and disrespect to the Federal Government of Nigeria under the watch of His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari.
It would be recalled that Mrs Hauwa Bello is a staff of the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, and was seconded to NBET through a friendly parley between Dr Amobi and the Accountant General of the Federation. The NBET Human Resources Policy manual a copy of which was made available to this reporter does not empower Dr Amobi to make such reckless elevation/appointments for Hauwa Bello as doing so would have usurp the powers of both the Head of Service of the Federation, SGF and the NBET Board of Directors. During the recent oversight visit of the House of Representatives Committee Members on Power to NBET, the House Chairman picket Amobi for altering the agency organogram at will without the NBET Board approval thereby disrespecting governance structure. When the chairman queried Dr Amobi, she became violent to the chairman of the committee in the presence of journalist and other committee members.
Section 220.127.116.11 of the NBET policy manual reads “an inward secondee remains an employee of the donor organization and remains subject to their terms and conditions”. One wonders the basis or right that Dr Amobi exercised in elevating/appointing Hauwa Bello to act as the MD/CEO of NBET. Dr Amobi is extremely desperate and afraid, having dwindled in favour with her management team. This is her desperate move to hold on to the reins of power at NBET at all cost, thus converting it to Amobi Enterprises.
Various media houses had earlier reported the mirage surrounding the secondment of the said Hauwa Bello to internal audit department of NBET https://www.icirnigeria.org/how-accountant-general-of-the-federation-ahmed-idris-turned-blind-eye-to-fraud-at-nbet/ which necessitated the removal of a whistle blower and the NBET Board appointed Head Internal Audit- Mr Sambo Abdullahi from his job functions to a newly created Learning and Development unit by Dr Amobi. On 30thMay 2017, the OAGF via unusual letter with Reference number OAGF/ADM/PMGT/67/IV/014 posted Hauwa Bello to NBET finance department whereas a personalised letter dated 5th June 2017 posted Hauwa Bello to the Audit Department of NBET. Dr Amobi unilaterally made Hauwa Bello the Head of Internal Audit against NBET Human Resources Policy Manual and Board Charter to pave way for her unrestrained pilfering of the company’s resources. Rather than adding value to NBET, Dr Amobi has incurred liabilities in excess of N1.3trillion for the agency during her leadership. Capital vote to the agency annually (both padded and lawful ones) are in billions of naira despite the fact that the agency owns no assets than its staff.
Dr Amobi did not stop at that but further paid the secondee huge salaries, car and travel gifts to subdue her to succumb to her fraud biddings by promoting Hauwa Bello to the status of DGM on resumption at NBET. By this, Mrs Bello earns two salaries monthly both from OAGF and NBET, this is against financial regulation of the Federal Government.
Interestingly, Mrs Hauwa Bello has spent complete 36 months (3 years) as at the time of this reporting as a secondee to NBET in gross violation of NBET Human Resources Policy manual which stipulated maximum of 12months for a secondee in the company. Section 18.104.22.168 of the manual reads “Transfer and secondment will be for a minimum period of three months and maximum period of twelve months”. One wonders what Hauwa Bello is still doing in NBET to merit her appointment to oversee the affairs of the office of the MD/CEO if not as conspirator in fraud perpetration.
Hauwa Bello and Ibrahim Otaru Saliu from OAGF were both seconded to NBET in June 2017 to aid the fraudulent activities of Dr Amobi but the latter has been transferred out of NBET to Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (Accts) since 2019 after his unlawful monthly earning of N1,513,993.38 throughout his stay in NBET as salary payable by NBET aside from salary he was earning from OAGF office.
Our findings revealed that the duo were the first treasury staff posted to NBET since the incorporation of the agency in 2011. The posting was said to have been orchestrated by Dr Amobi few months after assumption of office. The posting circular of treasury staff of OAGF made available to our investigative journalist poses serious question on the posting of Hauwa Bello to NBET as against the posting of other treasury staff of OAGF to Ministries, Departments and Agencies. By the circular of the OAGF, posting treasury officers dated 5th June 2017, Ibrahim Otaru was officially posted in a circular to NBET vide circular referenced OAGF/ADM/PMGT/67/III/069 but Hauwa Bello’s name was out rightly omitted.
The only posting letter which posted Hauwa Bello to NBET was personalised and secretly addressed to the Managing Director, Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc against the tradition of numerous addressees not limited to the Chief of Staff to the President, All Honourable Ministers, SGF, Head of Service, Service Chiefs, National Assembly and Supreme Court duly signed personally by the Accountant General of the Federation. Why the posting of Hauwa Bello was made private and signed by one Alhaji Sule B. Al-Hassan (Director, Administration in OAGF) rather than Ahmed Idris himself is a hallucination till date.
The audacity of impunity of Dr Amobi far exceeds any known atrocities by any Public Officer since the return of democracy in 1999 till date. There is the need for President Muhammadu Buhari to move swiftly in prosecuting Marilyn Amobi, and restoring sanity at NBET to further clean up the mess in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry for the good of Nigerians.