{OPINION} Who will save Rural Electrification Agency?

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One of the electricity transformers donated.

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By OLATIDE OJO

Report of many frauds Involving Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad at Rural Electrification Agency, REA

In the last four years of Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad’s reign as the. Managing Director of Rural Electrification Agency, REA, the latter has suffered several losses, money wise to the light-fingered helmsman.

Salihijo through various underhand means appropriated to himself several monies belonging to REA, and a unit in the agency, Nigeria Electrification Project, NEP.

NEP is known to attract loans from development banks including World Bank and African Development Bank, and under Salihijo’s watch to the tune of a billion dollar for power generation to disadvantaged Nigerian communities.

It’s no news that electricity has remained elusive in nearly all those places.

What is news is that Salihijo has corruptly enriched himself with those loans by awarding contracts to unqualified cronies’ companies and himself.

This claim is exampled by the N200m contract he is on the brink of awarding eN Consulting & Projects, a company he holds significant interest in, the report of which found its way to the media.

That is that. What is equally fraudulent is that SALIHIJO owns 37 bank accounts, all linked to his Biometric Verification Number, two of which are in his mother’s name, a Director in National Board For Technical Education.

The said multiple accounts have many discrepancies in the account names and his date of birth, and are simply covers to conceal the proceeds of his corruption. Find enclosed details of those accounts.

What is also criminal is that only two of all those accounts Salihijo claims to have and filled in the Asset Declaration Form he last submitted with the Code of Conduct Bureau.

Crime which is Salihijo’s second nature is also exemplified by a N1.2bn fraud in REA he oversaw between March and June, 2023.

The money was siphoned off REA’s accounts in tranches, first, through 8 staff in the agency’s account department in a devious scheme involving the Director of Fund, Abubakar Sambo, and his Technical Service counterpart, Engr Barka Sajor.

During the period, various sums were paid into the personal bank accounts of the 8 staff, with the narrations for the payments bordering on project supervisions and others that fall outside the job roles of the temporary recipients.

The staff, namely: Asuni Adejoke Aminat, Musa Karaye, Ogunjobi Folorunsho, Okoli Henrietta, Pada Emmanuel Titus, Shehu Abdullahi Laure, Usman Kwakwa Ahmed, and Yekeen Bola Nurudeen were conduits of Ahmad, Sajor and Sambo through whose bank accounts the monies were laundered.

Proofs of Salihijo being behind the thievery from REA accounts is herewith attached as with print-out of Whatsapp messages he exchanged with Director of Fund in which he gave instructions on disbursement of the N1.2bn loot.

For clarity sake, the personal account of Sambo, the Director of Fund, with Zenith, account number: 2083588954, was in receipt of several payments from the said eight staff.

They also paid into that of their colleague’s, Usman Kwakwa Ahmed with Zenith ( 2083588954) and GTBank (1003477985).

Also found to have hands in the money trail are two persons not in the agency: Adudu Yusuf Mohammed and Dan mama Mohammed. Adudu’s account with FCMB( 3221509018) and that of Mohammed’s First Bank, also received some of the ill-gotten monies.

Same as that of Mr Olaniyi Netufo, an Executive Director in the organisation.

Mr Olaniyi Netufo actively participated in the fraud under reference by receiving the proceeds of the fraud both in his private account with following details: “Olaniyi Alaba Netufo” Zenith Bank with Account No. 1005738420 totalling a sum of N6,500,000 (Six Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira) that was paid into his account by Usman Kwakwa Ahmed in tranches; and by proxy, into the First Bank Plc Account No. 2005602719 of NECOL (Nigeria) Ltd, a private limited liability company he maintains a majority shareholding of 40% in, despite his current status as a public officer. Copy of the shareholding of the said company .

In June of the same year, Salihijo also superintended N300m fraud.

The money was siphoned under the guise of a training programme that was not intended to take place until the fraud was exposed by the media.

In spite, the attempt to cover up by doing the training weeks after the scandal, the training contract awarded Braintask Value Resources Limited and Cess Assist Resources Limited is against procurement law on many grounds.

There is no Certificate of No Objection from the Bureau of Public Procurement in respect of the contract, while the contract sums, N139m each to Braintask Value Resources and Cess Assist Resources is beyond the threshold of contract sum the law allows the agency’s leadership to award, which is not more than N9m.

The N139m contract awarded each of the firms is even above what the procurement law permits Parastatal Tender Board(PTB) to award. PTB is only empowered to award contract below N99m and in that case, it is only the Ministerial Tender Board that is qualified to approve those contracts.

For other two recipients: Airan Construction & Supplies, and Tungsten Project Nigeria Limited, they were paid N24.4m and N6.1m respectively by REA for doing nothing.

In addition, both Airan Construction & Supplies, and Tungsten Project Nigeria Limited had no contract award.

It was all an intrigue to clean out all the remaining 2022 allocation in the agency’s coffer in June, 2023.

But for a private company, Donnington Nigeria Limited, who took him to court for alleged money laundering despite petitioned, many agencies and committees of the National Assembly in charge of fighting corruption have
refused to lift a finger against him.

Neither is he facing investigation much less prosecution.

*Olatide Ojo writes from Agbole Akute, Ogun State.


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