Re- N4bn 37-storey House Sold to Bankole's Firm: Probe Panel Seeks Revocation:
Your attention is hereby drawn to the Punch on the Web edition of Sunday June 12, 2011 which carried the article 'N4bn 37-storey house sold to Bankole's firm: Probe panel seeks revocation' The story in essence places in the public domain the report of the three-man committee set up by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to investigate the sale of the 37-storey NECOM House to West African Aluminum Products Plc, belonging to Chief Alani Suara Bankole, father of former Speaker, House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole.
While the committee is reported to have recommended the revocation of the sale of NECOM House there are very disturbing aspects of the report to which this letter is intended to draw your attention.
While the committee revealed that the transaction was 'fraud-tainted' the committee members made themselves participants in the fraud when they recommended that 'Government may decide to repurchase the said No. 15 Marina from the new buyers' Repurchase does not arise on a transaction which Chief Alani Bankole has declared his company has not paid for and it is clearly fraudulent to have attempted to lure the Federal Government to paying for it by a repurchase.
The Sun News on Line of Monday, May 9, 2011 published the report 'We are yet to buy NECOM House Building says Bankole's father' under the byline of Moshood Adebayo from Abeokuta. In the report Chief Alani Suara Bankole the Chairman of West African Aluminium Product Plc, the company that purportedly bought NECOM House, was reported to have spoken to journalists after the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company. Chief Alani Bankole was quoted to have said 'I said we are in the process, we are trying to, there is no contract without consideration you don't buy something when you have not paid for it' Chief Alani was further reported to have added a clincher that 'In property purchase occupation is 90%. We have not taken possession. I HOPE I AM CLEAR (emphasis mine)' This story, published a month ago has not been denied. That Nigerians are being conditioned through the mass media to accept that NECOM HOUSE has been sold is a very sinister ploy indeed.
The Bureau of Public Enterprises is expected to tell Nigerians why a property which has not been sold is being recommended to government for repurchase. Nigerians will also want to know why the committee did not take the pains to establish whether the purported purchaser actually paid for the property.
Where is the money? This now calls to question Messrs Adekanola, the liquidator's claim that the Four Billion Naira realized from the sale of NECOM House has been disbursed as terminal benefits to NITEL Pensioners. The purported sale was between May and July 2008 and Messers Adekanola should tell NITEL Pensioners the amount the company disbursed as terminal benefits to them between 2008 and now as the company has orchestrated in several Newspapers
The scam surrounding the sale of NECOM House is only a tip of the iceberg in the fraudulent manipulations of the Privatization of NITEL/M-tel and the deregulation of the telecommunications sector where Nigeria has lost more than One Trillion Naira to the Nation's treasury.
The EFCC is orchestrating with fanfare the prosecution of the former speaker of the House of Representatives Dimeji Bankole. All the charges so far leveled against Dimeji hinge on the violation of the Public Procurement Act 2007. But the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) criminally violated the provisions of the same act in selling Nigeria's frequency spectrum patrimony to cronies for peanuts and the EFCC turned a blind eye. The Indian Minister of Communications who supervised a lesser frequency spectrum infraction has already been charged to court in India.
An indigenous Nigerian telecommunications service company Private Networks Nigeria Ltd. (PNN) is being owed almost One billion Naira by MTN based on invoicing dispute. MTN should be the last company to use invoicing dispute to delay payments for services rendered because MTN is one of the beneficiaries of Nigerian Communications Commission's illegal and fraudulent Guidelines on Procedure for Granting Approval to Disconnect Telecommunications Operators. Section, 2. 1. c of the procedure says 'Where an operator does not have an accurate billing system, such an operator will be bound by the Call Detail Record of its interconnected partner (whether this too is inaccurate or fraudulent)-words in parenthesis are mine'. With this obnoxious regulation and in violation of Financial Regulations NITEL was made to settle hundreds of billions of Naira invoices from MTN and others which NITEL could not certify because the same NCC created the situation where NITEL was unable to certify the invoices. I therefore wonder why MTN could start bickering with PNN on invoices.
The BPE should note that a substantial part of the 200 Billion Naira it tells various oversight committees that NITEL owes creditors are UNCERTIFIABLE INVOICES and could be mere computer generated invoices. NITEL certifications of those invoices are not backed up by any verifiable internal records. NITEL staff were merely intimidated or blackmailed into appending their signatures.
Nigerian Telecommunications environment is a cesspit of technology driven money laundering and Financial Crimes, an area in which the EFCC and other Law Enforcement Agencies have little or no understanding and cannot therefore adequately police. The sacrificial lamb has been NITEL whose revenues were fraudulently diverted to Private Operators.
In conclusion I should sound a note of warning! What has happened to NITEL is a dress rehearsal of what will happen to the National Grid of PHCN and Electric Power Generating Stations which the Federal Government will still be operating after the so called Privatization of PHCN. Unpatriotic Nigerians in PHCN, as there are in NCC, are poised to ensure that the private distribution companies do not pay commensurate charges to the Operators of the National Electric Transmission Grid and Generating plants. This will eventually lead to the Collapse of the National Grid and Generating Plants just as was the case with NITEL that had the National Transmission Network at the inception of the so called telecommunications deregulation which was given free of to private operators under a deliberate and fraudulent Interconnection Agreement.
Yours sincerely, Former General Manager (Operations) and Head of
NITEL ad hoc Team on Regulatory issues with NCC