TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center

Exclusive: Why Communications Minister Fired NigComSat Boss, Ahmed-Rufai

Source: thewillnigeria.com
Listen to article

  Petition By Staffers Leaked Details Of Over N2 billion In Contracts Handed To Proxies Within 3yrs BEVERLY HILLS, March 13, (THEWILL) - The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs.

Omobola Johnson ordered the removal of the Managing Director of the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat), Timasaniyu Ahmed-Rufai, and ordered a full investigation into the finances of the company following a petition to her office by employees of the agency, THEWILL can report.

Ahmed-Rufai, whose tenure was due to lapse in June 2014, was sent on indefinite leave on February 18, 2014, by the board of the agency following a directive from the Minister, and the Executive Director in charge of Marketing, Ms.

Abimbola Alale, was named acting Managing Director.

The petition addressed to the Minister by the disgruntled employees dated February 14, 2014, had expressed frustrations and disenchantment with the way Ahmed-Rafai sidelined management in the day to day operations of the agency whilst also accusing him of incompetence, as well as several other violations including contract splitting and handing contracts to companies operated by proxies.

Excerpts from the petition reads: 'The staff of NIGCOMSAT Limited are generally disenchanted with the management and operational models implemented by the MD/CE, the issues involved are quite expansive and are all very dangerous to the survival of NIGCOMSAT Limited as a viable entity, and has restricted the organizations ability to deliver on the precious services that are supposed to improve communications infrastructures in Nigeria and Africa while generating revenues, curbing capital flight and creating economic empowerment for Nigerians.

'The general problems stem from the fact that the MD/CE operates the company like a private business, where all the management staff working with him are subdued to the point that they can not make decisions on any issue in the company.

For example, issuance of furniture items, working tools such as laptops and other similar items can only be done with the MD/CE's approval.

Furthermore, resolutions reached by the management meeting in his absence are often nullified by him, case in point, NIGCOMSAT personnel raised issues on the operator of the staff canteen and after investigations and consultations with staff the NIGCOMSAT management recommended the immediate replacement of the caterer, but the MD/CE overruled this decision and the Lady is still there till date.

So this appears to be a clear indicator that no important decision can be reached at the management meeting as the MD/CE has established himself as the sole manager of the company.

'The first issue to be presented is the inability of the MD/CE to successfully complete any single given project to the point where it can have an opportunity to become a successful commercial entity.

  The first project to fail is the community tele center (CTC) project where all appropriated funds where disbursed, computers and communication infrastructures where procured, office and operational spaces were leased branded and commissioned.

However, no concrete arrangements were made to supply ip data to these centers, and the few resources deployed for testing were quickly over stretched making the centers useless to those who required them resulting in all the investment wasting as the CTC project is categorically a failed project.

Rents are still been owed on leased facilities where the few equipment not yet stolen are scattered across the country.

'The next project of note is the DTH project where even though sufficient funds were appropriated to establish a working Direct to home television broadcasting center, the center can not commence commercial operations due to the diversion of appropriated funds, resulting in certain key components such as transmission antenna with appropriate RF amplifiers, play out facilities for the management of local channel play out, outside broadcast vehicles and mobile uplink infrastructures, uplink infrastructure to aggregate local TV stations and other key components have not been deployed.

A representative of Mr.
President commissioned this project on 19 th March 2012 as 100% complete, but the primary 9m Ku band antenna with no amplifiers or other accessories is shown in the picture below; n 'The other project worthy of note is the micro electronic center (MEC) project, where funds have like wise been appropriated and disbursed but have been misappropriated to the point that the center is currently useless as the building infrastructure has not yet passed lintel level on the first floor, talk less of the operational equipment that should have been installed in the them, which the funds for is already spent and the project presented in reports as 100% complete, but the state is shown in the picture below; 'All the projects described above, and many others all have a circle of contractors, with different names but the same representatives that handle all contracts and supplies at NIGCOMSAT.

It can be assumed that they are all a proxy for the MD/CE as all the inflated contracts are signed off and all payments made to them, even when not completed and the supervising NIGCOMSAT personnel have refused to give completion certificates for Jobs that have not been completed.

Equally, technical decisions from some NIGCOMSAT personnel are over ruled by the MD/CE in instances that clearly show that interests of these contractors are similar to his own, case in point failed BTS towers for the Police CDMA pilot project in Kubwa.

Furthermore, the same contractors representatives are seen to supply or be involved in the provision of everything from tissue paper, to building contracts and the supply of high tech equipment's.

'With the failure of these projects, all the highly trained personnel who have been working to see the benefits of their labor accrue to Nigerians have been frustrated and made relatively redundant.

With no project functional, most of the personnel are idle with nothing to do but to continuously train and retrain themselves within the office, with researched materials from the Internet.

All training funds are used at the MD/CEO's discretion to train a few of his preferred candidates, mostly relatives and associates, and not based on Nigcomsat's' training requirements.

Furthermore, the number of these select trainees does not justify the funds budgeted for training.

'In the same vein, staff employments no longer follow the ideals of competitive processes to ensure that the best hands are employed to face the challenges of the satellite communications industry.

The last published request for applications that employed a quality set of personnel was in 2007, and since then, hundreds of staff have been employed at the sole discretion of the MD/CE, filling the office with relatives, townsmen, children of friends and political associates.

A great percentage of these employees have been found to be very incompetent and have continued to polarize the staff as some of them are employed into management positions that they do not deserve.

Arbitrary promotions are equally issued in total disregard of the principles of fairness to those favored by the MD/CE creating a situation where a large number of staff have received two or sometimes three promotions at the MD/CE's discretion thus becoming senior to some hard working personnel who are thus disgruntled.

A large number of high quality personnel have voluntarily resigned from NIGCOMSAT for this reason.

'Other staff that for feelings of dedication to the ideals of NIGCOMSAT or for the reason that they have no alternatives have stayed on and are further humiliated by unfair practices daily.

Some staff have equally reacted by committing fraudulent acts including theft and diversion of NIGCOMSAT's assets and facilities but no disciplinary actions taken against them as some of them have blackmail materials against the MD/CE, case in point is an accounts staff who transferred NIGCOMSAT funds to herself but was never charged until she voluntarily resigned.

' The petitioners concluded by chronicling all the alleged infringing contracts awarded by the sacked MD, and added that 'It appears to the staff of NIGCOMSAT that the MD/CE with uncertainties concerning his desire to have an extension to his tenure has decided to destroy what is left of the company in case his tenure is not extended.

Debts are been accrued for everything as the office seems never to have any money, even to pay for things as cheap as fifty thousand Naira (N50,000), case in point, damage to electrical power lines for public power supply resulted in Diesel been burnt for over three weeks wasting millions because the office did not have money for repairs.

Staff who at critical times have spent their personal funds can no longer do so as they rarely get paid back, and the MD/CE may not care because, his contractors supply the Diesel at over two hundred (200) Naira per liter.

Thus we conclude that changes are needed urgently at NIGCOMSAT so that we may hope that the company can survive and reposition itself to the delivery of intended services so that the nation can reap the benefits.

' n INTERIM REPORT PRESENTED TO THE MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY   VIOLATION OF PUBLIC PROCUREMENT ACT/FINANCIAL REGULATIONS BY AHMED TANIMU RUFAI The following are contraventions of the above named Act that took place at the NIGERIAN COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE LIMITED (NIGCOMSAT) from 2010-2013.

n n 2010
NAME OF CONTRACTOR CONTRACT TITLE CONTRACT SUM ( N) REMARKS

OAKS AND CEDAR LIMITED Variation of DTH transmission station civil works not in the original Bill of Quantity and Construction of DTH transmission station for NIGCOMSAT Ltd 270,152,388.

59 Both the award for variation and construction were given on the same day (31 st December, 2010).

This was done to beat the threshold of Ministerial Tenders Board.

Given the value of the sum, this should have been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC)

SES NEW SKIES Payment of Bandwidth 51,675,000.
00 This value exceeds the approval limit of a CEO, unless it was approved by the appropriate authority.

-BRIGHT MATCH NIGERIA LIMITED-CARRIER SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGIES LIMITED-EQUILIBRIUM GLOBAL CONCEPT LTD Supply of Legged Angular lattice towers 144,518,862.

86 This contract awarded to 3 companies and there was no advertisement for the contract.

There appears to be a contract splitting in order to avoid approval from the FEC

FASAHA INTERCONTINENTAL INSURANCE BROKERS LTD Insurance 135,301,755.

20 7 contracts were awarded to the same company.
Each contract sum was for just shy of 20 million.
It appears to be contract splitting, given that the same company was given the same kind of award.

-EMBOZZERS INTERNATIONAL LTD-MUHAZ ENTERPRISES Supply of 100 pieces of HP laptops 53,300,000 Supply of the same goods.

On this basis it appears to be splitting contract

-MMCC GROUP-RICHFIELD TECHNOLOGIES LTD-FADAMAG GLOBAL SERVICES LTD -MODALAB NIG LTD RAYYAN VENTURES NIG LTD -TITBAM VENTURES NIG LTD ABGLO INTERNATIONAL LTD TARINO CONTRACTS CUP NIG LTD Supply of 2,000 units of ZTE M450 MHZ CDMA and GPS enabled.

316,905,750 Appears to be a contract splitting.
The same good were procured.
What is more disturbing is that the goods were already in the store having been supplied under another contract.

(NPSCS)
OAKS AND CEDAR LTD Payment for the construction of boundary fence using reinforced concrete 158, 267,176 This contract was not provided for in the approved budget.

This can only be justified if virement approval was obtained from National Assembly n 2011

NAME OF CONTRACTOR CONTRACT TITLE CONTRACT SUM ( N) REMARKS

SUZANEKH LIMITED Construction of Petroleum Dumpsite 20,634,730.

00 No budget provision for this project
FRANEX NIG LTD Hub Deployment 199,111,357.
00 No budget provision for this project and the awarded sum is above the approval limit of a CEO

BLUECAST ENTERPRISES LTD Supply of one unit firefighter vehicle 49,069,125.

00 No budget provision for this project
-TARRI RESOURCES LTDATAFRANC NIGERIA LTD Supply and construction of multimedia satellite earth station antenna uplink infrastructure 383,917,095 Appears to be a splitting contract.

Both contracts were for the supply of outdoor equipment

WALY- ACTHY LTD Supply of 33,000 litres of Ago diesel 34,802,460 Same company.

No provision for this award in the approved budget.

Paid from capital and not overhead which would be a contravention of no approval was first acquired

-AYINDE INVESTMENT LTDABGLO INTERNATIONAL LTD-RF TECH LTD -FUNYOTECH CONCEPT LTD -INFOWARE TECHNOLOGIES LTD Supply of office consumables.

23,665,793 If not provided for in the capital then the expenditure is unauthorized save where approval was sought from the appropriate parties.

n 2012
NAME OF CONTRACTOR CONTRACT TITLE CONTRACT SUM ( N) REMARKS

-IMAN GRAND ROYAL SERVICES LTD-SENDIRIAN BERHAD CO LTD-TARRI RESOURCES LTD n Satellite infrastructure 613, 593,605.

7 This value exceeds the approval limit of a CEO, unless it was approved by the appropriate authority.

-FRANEZ NIG LTD-TARRI RESOURCES LTD-SILIKON OATHWAY LTD -TODATE SYSTEM LTD PROYECTE ENGINEERING n Supply of customer premise equipment (CPE) 264,333,830 Appears to be a splitting contract

-HARLAWI INTERNATIONAL Supply of 2 units of brand new Toyota Camry 2012 37,941,750.

00
DILLY MOTORS LIMITED Supply of 1 brand new Toyota Camry 2012 10,290,000 Same supply as above.

Appears to be a contract splitting
WESTWING ENERGY LTD Supply of 1 unit Ford XLT F150 and 2 units Honda Ridgeline 30, 124,500 Fairly used vehicles supplied


n n 2013
NAME OF CONTRACTOR CONTRACT TITLE CONTRACT SUM ( N) REMARKS

-BAKANDA INTEGRATED CONCEPT LTD-ENGINEERING MODULES CONSULT LTD Supply of PVC base 324,555,000 Appears to be the a splitting contract n WITHDRAWAL FROM REVENUE ACCOUNT IN VIOLATION OF FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT

$350,000 (Three hundred and fifty thousand Dollars, only) from KEYSTONE BANK DOMICILIARY ACCOUNT.

July 2013.
Paid to China Great Wall Industry Corporation
$181,000 (one hundred and eighty-one thousand Dollars, only) to settle overdraft from Keystone Bank.

From July-December 2013: N 12,526,315 (Twelve million, five hundred and twenty-six thousand, three hundred and fifteen Naira only) withdrawn from ZENITH BANK Naira revenue account for various expenses.

n