A SPECIAL REPORT: MULTI-BILLION NAIRA FRAUD IN ONITSHA, OGBARU & OGIDI BUSINESS UNITS OF THE POWER HOLDING COMPANY OF NIGERIA IN ANAMBRA STATE: OGBARU BUSINESS UNIT AS OUR CASE-STUDY
1. Honourable (Hajiya) Zainab Ibrahim Kuchi
Minister of State for Power
The Federal Ministry of Power
4th Floor, Federal Secretariat Complex
Shehu Shagari Way, Maitama District
2. Dr. Sam Amadi
Chairman of the Board
Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission
NERC Headquarters, Adamawa Plaza
Plot 1099, First Avenue
Off Shehu Shagari Way
Central Business District
Abuja, FCT, Nigeria
Dear Madam Minister & Chairman NERC,
A Special Report
Multi-Billion Naira Fraud In Onitsha, Ogbaru & Ogidi Business Units Of The Power Holding Company Of Nigeria In Anambra State: Ogbaru Business Unit As Our Case-Study
Above subject matter refers.
General Background Information:
(Onitsha-Nigeria, 3rd December 2012)-It is the information of the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law that the Ogbaru and the Ogidi Business Units were carved out of the Onitsha Business Unit of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria sometime in 2011 as part of the ongoing power sector reform in Nigeria. As you know, the PHCN was a successor public company to NEPA (National Electric Power Authority) which succeeded the ECN (Electricity Company of Nigeria). The PHCN also is being succeeded by DISCOS including the Transmission Company of Nigerian PLC and the Enugu Power Distribution Company PLC, which inherits the three Business Units above mentioned.
It is our further information that the three Business Units of Onitsha, Ogbaru and Ogidi are the largest Business Units in the Southeast Nigeria. Another larger Unit is the Aba Business Unit and its “junior” units possibly carved out in 2011 as well. Under Onitsha Business Unit, there are large and densely populated residential and industrial cities like Fegge, Onitsha GRA, Odoakpu/Inland Town, Nsugbe, Nkwerre- Ezunaka, Woliwo & Omagba Layouts, etc. Under Ogbaru Business Unit, there are Iyiowa Odekpe Layout/Ogbeukwu Village, Harbour Industrial Estate, Odo Rubber and Onwuasoanya Layouts, Nkutaku and Mkpikpa Layouts and Okpoko urban Community (the largest and most densely populated low cost city in the Southeast Nigeria).
Under Ogidi Business Unit, there are Awada Layout (a sub-city with largest number of high rising buildings in the Southeast Nigeria), Ugwuagba Layout, Nkpor, Ogidi and Obosi urban Communities, etc. Generally speaking, the three Business Units are substantially populated by those who engage in the exchange of goods and services including traders, artisans and industrialists. Within the revenue contemplation of the PHCN and other socio-economic calculations, substantial revenue potentials abound in the three Business Units. They are also a god mine for the graft practitioners in the PHCN. This has indisputably been the case over the years. From general public views, the most deadly corrupt sub-units in the three Business Units are marketing and distribution departments. While the marketing departments indulge in roguish consumer billing methods, their distribution departments commercialize installation and maintenance of distribution transformers and their accessories.
It is therefore upon the foregoing that this important letter to your two public bodies is predicated. This is in accordance with extant ministerial and statutory powers vested on your two public offices by the Nigerian Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005.
Our Case Against The Ogbaru Business Unit:
The Ogbaru Business Unit is presently headed by Engineer E.C. Anyaelesi. He is the Unit‘s second pioneer Business Manager, the first had reportedly been transferred to Owerri zone of the PHCN. In the year 2000/2001, our sister body, the Civil Liberties Organization, Anambra State Branch, under the then leadership of Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi (present BOT Chairman, Intersociety Nigeria)exposed the monumental corrupt practices in the then Onitsha Distribution of NEPA(as it then was). The crux of the matter then was commercialization of installation and maintenance of distribution transformers as well as extortions arising from maintenance of same including changing of burnt fuses, units, cables and wires and transformer oil. The Iyiowa Odekpe Layout was then adopted as its case-study. The peak of it all was the case of a Catholic Reverend Father who was trapped into paying the then top NEPA (as it then was) officials at its Enugu Zonal office a whopping sum of N1million via a private bank account so as to be given from its warehouse a 500KVA “11” distribution transformer for the Iyiowa Community. At the end, heads rolled including that of one Engineer Agha Aghashi, an AGM for Distribution at the Enugu Zonal Office of the NEPA.
Today, twelve years after, the relevant top marketing and distribution departments’ officials in the Ogbaru Business Unit are at it again by indulging with impunity and utter recklessness in sundry graft practices ranging from roguish consumer billing to abdication of statutory duties and commercialization of the installation and management of the distribution transformers and their accessories. Our main grouses against the marketing and the distribution departments of the Ogbaru Business Unit and by extension, the Onitsha and the Ogidi Business Units are:
1. Issuance of criminal, crazy, unfair and outrageous consumer bills based on criminal estimates usually N4, 500/N5, 000.00 monthly per three-bedroom flat apartment for high rising buildings or N5, 000.00 per four rooms in bungalows (in some cases per room or two rooms). This is whether or not the affected areas are in perpetual or erratic outages.
2. Rejection of part payments or payments made in the banks with a view to enriching themselves privately through criminal disconnections of consumers’ power lines.
3. Abandonment of, and refusal to read the existing post payment metering bills.
4. Hording and creation of artificial scarcity of new electronic prepayment consumer electronic meters so as to retain their criminal system of extorting and short-changing innocent and social obligation-compliant consumers.
5. Selling through black-market means of some electronic prepayment meters to cutting-corner consumers outside the approved processes.
6. Criminally charging consumers who previously subscribed and paid for prepayment electronic meters (before they were made free with effect from June 1, 2012) the sum of N7, 500.00(N5, 000.00 as installation fee and N2, 500.00 as installation wire cost) as “installation fee” per prepayment electronic meter.
7. Criminal diversion of loads meant for consumers/members of the public to some industrialists for a fee.
8. Epileptic power supply in many parts of the three Business Units on ratio of less than quarter of a day.
9. Abdication of statutory duties or monetization of same where rarely carried out.
10. Creation of artificial load-shedding.
11. Non-provision of distribution transformers to the affected areas and commercialization of their installations when procured by public consumers especially in technical areas that require their inputs.
12. Poor management and maintenance of distribution transformers.
13. Extortion and commercialization of the replacement of the transformers’ accessories.
14. Aiding and abetting illegal power connections.
15. Little or no attention to consumers’ complaints arising from issuance of criminally estimated and outrageous consumers’ bills and transformers’ overloads, their burnt or spoilt accessories, installations and general maintenance and management.
16. Reckless resort to the use of the so-called PHCN licensed contractors especially in the area of installation, repair and maintenance of distribution transformers-a criminal practice that engenders fraud, extortion, bribery and corruption in the PHCN particularly in the three Units under scrutiny.
17. Mass disconnection of residential buildings no matter the insignificant number of the non-bills’ payers in such buildings instead of going after such defaulters.
Facts Of Our Grouses:
Ogbaru Distribution/Undertaking Sub-Units:
In 2011, Honourable Chukwuka Onyema of the Ogbaru Federal Constituency at Nigeria’s House of Reps (as he then was) handed over eight distribution transformers to various electoral wards in the Ogbaru LGA as part of his Federal Constituency Projects, which are captured annually in the Appropriation Act of the Federal Government of Nigeria. Out of these eight distribution transformers, a 300 KVA/33/0.415 transformer was given to the Iyiowa Layout so as to ease the heavy loads of the Iyiowa Market Transformer installed in 1983. Others listed as beneficiaries of the eight transformers were Okpoko IV ( 500KVA), Okpoko V (500KVA), Ogbeukwu (300KVA), Okoti (300KVA), Ogbetiti Odekpe) 300KVA), Atani (300KVA) and Ogbakuba (200KVA). The transformers were given to the affected areas during the national campaigns for the National Assembly Polls held in April 2011.
Consequent upon the handover of the said 300KVA transformer to the Iyiowa Layout consumers, the offices of the Senior Manager for Distribution and the Undertaking Manager at the Onitsha GRA and the Ogbaru offices of the PHCN were approached via a letter from the Iyiowa Electricity Committee for its immediate installation and energization. This was followed by a letter of introduction/assistance addressed to them by Honourable Chukwu Oyema, dated 1st day of July 2011, urging them to effect the installation of the eight transformers including that of Iyiowa Layout. As at then, the Ogbaru Business Unit was still under the Onitsha Business Unit.
Sadly, the two requests were turned down on the flimsy grounds that the PHCN “does not have money, materials and human resources” to install same. The Senior Manager for Distribution at the Onitsha GRA Ridge Road office of the PHCN and his subordinates including the Undertaking Manager at the PHCN Ogbaru area office located on Obodoukwu Road, Okpoko told the Iyiowa Layout consumers through a committee set up to reach out to same for installation that they should wait for the availability of money, materials and personnel or undertake the responsibility of installing the said transformer by way of “community assistance to PHCN”, which they insisted must be committed to writing.
With the latter as the only option available to the consumers who never defaulted in paying their monthly criminally estimated bills, they resolved to embark on the installation of the transformer after they were told by the same PHCN senior staffers that waiting for them would have no end in time. The installation project was started in June 2011 and ended in June 2012, gulping a whopping sum of N2, 092,230 (two million, ninety-two thousands, two hundred and thirty naira). The installation started when the Ogbaru Business Unit was under the Onitsha Business Unit in 2011 and continued into 2012 after it had been created as “a Business Unit”. The senior PHCN staffers, who participated and still participate directly or indirectly in the gross misconducts complained of, are:
1. the former Business Manager for Onitsha Business Unit in 2011, who was transferred to the Enugu Zonal Office.
2. The former pioneer Business Manager for Ogbaru Business Unit in 2011 who was reportedly transferred to Owerri Unit.
3. The Onitsha Senior Manager for Distribution and his subordinates and the Ogbaru Senior Manager for Distribution and his subordinates including his Undertaking Manager. 4. The former Maintenance Manager for Iyiowa area office of the PHCN, who is now at the Ogbaru Business Unit headquarters located on Obodoukwu Road, Okpoko. His name is Mr. Richard Ohadume.
5. The new Business Manager for Ogbaru Unit, Engineer E.C. Anyaelesi. He aids and abets the gross misconducts complained of.
How The 300KVA /33/415/ Was Criminally Installed:
Sequel to an application and request for the installation of the transformer addressed to the Undertaking Manager in-charge of the Ogbaru Undertaking office of the PHCN, dated 6th June 2011, at the forceful instance of the Onitsha Senior Manager for Distribution, the Iyiowa Electricity Committee under the Iyiowa Community Landlords Association decided to bear the cross of installing the transformer on the strength of the rejection of their request by the PHCN. As a result, Mr. Vincent E.O. Nwaeze was introduced to them and certified by the then Maintenance Manager for Iyiowa, Mr. Richard Ohadume and the Ogbaru Undertaking Manager’s office as a “licensed PHCN contractor”. Mr. E.O. Nwaeze goes by a business name ODISON ELECTRICAL SERVICES & COMPANY NIG., of 15, Moore Street, Odoakpu, Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria.
The controversial distribution transformer is now referred in the PHCN records as “Abazuonu Iyiowa 300KVA/33/415 substation”. It is located at Abazuonu (New Road) Street by Ihitenasaa Street Junction, Iyiowa Layout, which is in front of the St James Catholic Church Outstation-a next door to the PHCN area office in the area. The Community went through hell so as to source over N2million through levies and free willed donations to install the transformer. Also, getting the relevant PHCN top staffers in the distribution department including their undertaking office to supervise and approve same was hellish. The transformer was energized in June 2012 after 12 months of the commencement of its installation.
Bribery, Extortion, Poor Supervision & Management Of The Substation:
According to a written account presented to the Iyiowa Community by the transformer installation/electricity committee, dated 18th day of September 2012, out of the whopping sum of N2, 092,230 spent, N263, 170 was spent in bribing the above-named top PHCN officials. The committee called it, “NEPA (PHCN) PR”, an acronym for bribery and extortion. Also, the sum of N3, 500.00 was offered to them as bribe so as to obtain an outage from the PHCN transmission station at Uga Junction, Fegge in Onitsha. Our investigation into the bribery and its recipients in the PHCN showed that the former two Business Managers for Onitsha and Ogbaru Business Units who held sway in 2011 as well as the Onitsha and Ogbaru SMDs (Senior Managers for Distribution) and their heads of Undertaking units were reportedly bribed. According to a member of the committee, the former Maintenance Manager for Iyiowa office of the PHCN, Mr. Richard Ohadume coordinated the bribery including his own cut. The only exempted top PHCN official is the new Business Manager for Ogbaru, Engineer E.C. Anyaelesi and his Onitsha counterpart because they were not in office between June 2011 and June 2012.
The committee members told Intersociety that they know other recipients facially and that a sum of N80, 000.00 was paid to the PHCN in June 2012 as bribe before the transformer was energized. According to them, the PHCN licensed contractor named above that handled the project allegedly played a role in identifying the relevant PHCN offices to be watered for a breakthrough. After its installation and energization, the transformer was heavily loaded and poorly managed by the PHCN officials at the Iyiowa Maintenance Office. Intersociety’s further investigation showed that the 300 KVA transformer was heavily loaded with 493 three-bedroom flat apartments comprising Ihitenasaa Street (largest street), Obidike Street, part of Ibekwe Street, part of Ehirim Street, Abazuonu Street (New Road), Okafor Close and Chukwuaku Lane, totaling 493 flats for a 300KVA distribution substation.
A team of electrical engineers contacted by Intersociety for an independent on-the-spot evaluation of the transformer told us expertly that apart from the fact that it was excessively loaded, many accessories used for its installation are of very low quality. Yet the PHCN went and certified them including the load capacity as “okay”. During the brief life span of the transformer (June to September 2012- a period of two months, some nefarious junior staffers of the PHCN Iyiowa Maintenance Office were caught engaging in tapping currents from the transformer to some consumers for a fee. As a result of the foregoing, the transformer sparked and shut down in the middle of September 2012 and since then its 493 flat apartments’ users, who pay monthly the roughly sum of N2.5million to the PHCN on average of N5,000.00 per flat as criminally estimated bills, have been in perpetual darkness with the said PHCN staffers doing nothing.
Intersociety‘s Encounter With The Ogbaru Business Manager:
Sequel to the sad developments enumerated above, the attention of Intersociety was drawn to them particularly the issue of the Abazuonu Iyiowa transformer installation scandal. It is also our discovery that some of the transformers mentioned above, donated to various electoral wards in Ogbaru LGA, have not been installed by the Ogbaru PHCN till date. For example, the 300KVA substation donated to Ogbeukwu village (a low class residence) in Ogbaru is still lying un-installed. Attempts by the Ogbaru PHCN to take it away were reportedly rebuffed. Consequent upon these, we wrote the Business Manager for Ogbaru Business Unit of the PHCN, Engineer E.C. Anyaelesi to draw his attention, formally, to the gross misconducts complained of. The letter was dated 31st day of October 2012. As a result, a meeting was called in his office, which was attended by himself, his marketing manager and senior manager for distribution and other top officials of his Business Unit. Representatives of Intersociety and the Iyiowa Community including the affected consumers were also in attendance. At the meeting, the BM told those in attendance that he resumed as the Ogbaru BM not up to a month and claimed ignorance of most of the sharp practices of his men and women especially those relating to the Iyiowa transformer installation scandal.
However, he acknowledged the existence in his Business Unit of estimated bill culture, which he said arose from “units/target allocations” per Business Unit and its marketing sub-units. He and his marketing manager made futile efforts to justify the criminal impositions, but they were roundly rejected by those in attendance who insisted on energy consumption readings based on post payment or prepayment metering bills since 95% of the consumers in Ogbaru like their counterparts in Onitsha and Ogidi Business Units have post payment electric meters. The BM and his Marketing Manager also claimed that “most of the post payment meters have expired”, a claim roundly rejected with incontrovertible pieces of evidence by those in attendance.
He announced to the meeting, which was held on 7th day of November, 2012 that as a “compensatory” measure, his Business Unit has issued a monthly bill of N500.00 for every flat apartment under his Business Unit for the month of October 2012 because of the flood disaster that shut down all distribution transformers in Iyiowa zone. He called the N500.00 bill “maintenance charge”. The bill was later issued together with that of September 2012 which contained a minimum of N4, 500/N5, 000.00 per flat/four rooms. The meeting also raised the issue of the failed Abazuonu Iyiowa transformer and drew the attention of the BM to a quotation for its repair worth N463, 000.00 given to the affected community by one GERSHON ELECTROTECH SERVICES NIG LTD of N0. 1 Gayius Ezeh by Onitsha-Owerri Road, Awada, Obosi, Anambra State. The said quotation arose when some residents of the affected area led by Mr. Joel Ebele Ezeneobi (Enyi) met with the SMD in September 2012 to draw his attention, formally, to the failed transformer. He (SMD) invited the PHCN licensed contractor to his office and introduced him to them, from where the quotation was written and given to them in his (SMD) presence. This is another clear case of corruption and abdication of statutory duties on the part of the SMD.
The meeting demanded firmly from the BM and his top officials to totally address the gross misconducts complained of, including fixing as a palliative measure the said failed Iyiowa transformer and processing the substantive approval of a 500KVA/33 substation as reinforcement for the area so as to lessen its high load burden. On 8th day of November 2012, Intersociety wrote the Ogbaru BM again on the strength of the outcome of the 7th November meeting and demanded firmly that the Abazuonu Iyiowa Transformer be fixed within seven days so as to end the suffering of the occupants of the 493 flat apartments including nursing mothers and their newly born babies, pregnant women and the elderly who suffer scorching heats, mosquito bites as well as expose their health to environmentally hazardous substances arising from discharging of carbon monoxide from thousands of power generators dotting every nook and cranny of the area and anti mosquito substances. The Business Manager, Engineer E.C. Anyaelesi was also reminded in the said letter that his failure to address the gross misconducts complained of, including sanctioning those involved expressly makes him aider and abettor of same. Sadly and unfortunately too, none of the issues so raised has been frontally addressed, which prompted this important letter to your two public offices.
Our Case Against The Ogbaru PHCN Marketing Unit & Its BM:
In 2006, the total number of three-bedroom flat apartments in Iyiowa Layout comprising the Mission Road down to the Madonna Catholic Church areas of the Layout, was put at 2,800. The downstairs/bungalows as per four rooms per post payment electric meter were 1,500. Today, the number of three-bedroom flats has increased to approximately 4,200 owing to rapid increase in the number of high rising buildings in the Layout. When added to the number of flats in Onwuasoanya and Odo Rubber Layouts which are also under Iyiowa zone, it may be correct to say that there are over 8,000 three-bedroom flat apartments and their equivalents in Iyiowa Zone, fetching the Ogbaru PHCN, crookedly and otherwise, a whopping sum of N40million monthly from the issuance and imposition of criminally estimated bills, on average of N5, 000.00 per flat, which translates into N480million a year. In Okpoko urban Community, Mkpikpa and Nkutaku Layouts all under Ogbaru Business Unit, there may be up to 20,000 flat apartments on the basis of four rooms as metering flat. This is subject to the PHCN discretion because bills or meters can be allocated per room or two-room basis.
Generally speaking, using the estimated billing benchmark of the PHCN, which has been the case for years particularly since January 2011, the consumers under the Ogbaru Business Unit are annually short-changed and defrauded to the tune of over N1billion. This does not include bills imposed on small, medium and large scale industrialists/industries in the areas so mentioned. It is also observed that promotions and punishments of the PHCN staffers in the three Business Units of Onitsha, Ogidi and Ogbaru are now based strictly on their ability or inability to defraud consumers by way of imposition and forceful collection of criminally outrageously estimated monthly bills. There also exists in the said PHCN Units “units allocation targets”, whereby, for instance, if “units target” of N15million is given to the PHCN Iyiowa Marketing Manager monthly, he is now at criminal liberty to allocate 1000 units to every flat apartment in the Iyiowa zone, which may fetch him more than N20million monthly. Once he returns the N15million targets consecutively, he stands the brightest chance of being promoted and rewarded. He is also at criminal liberty to squander the remainder.
This is how the innocent and social obligations-compliant consumers have been short-changed and defrauded over the years by the PHCN Units under reference. These sharp practices are totally responsible for gross misconducts complained of. Those who do not pay are traced, disconnected and forced to pay the reconnection fee of N1000.00 per meter in addition to the payment of the imposed bills given before being reconnected. As a result, post payment meters are not read and their management totally abandoned so also procurement, installation and maintenance of distribution transformers.
Commercialization, Hording & Artificial Scarcity Of Prepayment Electronic Meters:
The introduction of prepayment electronic metering did not go down well with the three Business Units mentioned above. Efforts by way of commercialization, hording or creation of artificial scarcity of same have been made and sustained by the PHCN Units since its introduction. This is because the prepayment e-meter is corruption, bribery, extortion and fraud liquidator. Many, if not most subscribers who paid for it in 2009 and 2010 have not received theirs, while few who have received theirs paid extra N7, 500.00 per prepaid e-meter for its “installation” and “ for special wire for its installation”. For instance, Mr. Arinze (08183298361) of the PHCN Iyiowa Service Station demanded and collected N7, 500.00 from Mr. and Mrs. Onyeozili Chukwuemeka Isaac to install a prepayment electronic meter, which they subscribed and paid for since 2010. The couple runs a business center at No. 13, Ihitenasaa Street, Iyiowa, Odekpe, which goes by name CITADEL COMPUTERS. The e-meter was brought to them from the Ogbaru PHCN office on 20th day of November 2012 and installed on 21st day of November 2012 at their residence, No. 8 Oraifite Street, Odo Rubber Layout, Iyiowa Odekpe.
He claimed that N2, 500 was for its special wire while N5, 000 was for installation fee. Mrs. Onyeozili may be reached via 08181860658 for further information. Mr. Arinze went to the two places on a PHCN motorbike with electrical kits also bearing the insignia of the PHCN. He had earlier in the said second day installed three e-meters at Okpoko at the same charges. In early November, 2012, the 10 three-bedroom flat apartments of No. 10 Onyeagba Street, Odo Rubber Layout, at Iyowa Odekpe, paid a total of N50, 000 to the PHCN technicians from the Ogbaru Business Unit for the installation of their new e-meters on average of N5, 000 per e-meter. The building is a four-storey building.
According to Mr. Ikenna Obi (08039580626 or 08175763477), who resides in the building, the PHCN officials are still demanding for another bribe totaling N100, 000 for the entire building before decoding their e-meters for use. Instances such as the forgoing are too numerous to mention.
General Observations: It is our general observation that the 18 grouses listed above against the Ogbaru Business Unit are also our grouses against the Onitsha and the Ogidi Business Units. In other words, the sufferings of innocent consumers in the hands of criminal PHCN officials under the Ogbaru Business Unit are the same sufferings experienced by consumers in Fegge, Odoakpu, Nsugbe, Nkwerre-Ezunaka, Woliwo Layout and Omagba Phase 1 all under the Onitsha Business Unit and; Nkpor, Odume Layout, Obosi, Ogidi, Awada and Ugwuagba Layouts and Omagba Phase 11 all under the Ogidi Business Unit. Cases of criminal negligence, fraud, embezzlement, extortion, bribery and corruption are hereby established against the three Business Units of Onitsha, Ogbaru and Ogidi. These are subject to further thorough and unbiased administrative and criminal investigations into the 18 grouses complained of.
We also observe that the 18 sharp practices complained of, which are a routine in the modus operandi of the three Business Units may most likely have the criminal blessings of the Enugu Zonal Office of the PHCN. In other words, the Enugu Zonal Office of the PHCN may most likely aid and abet. It is also our observation that the 18 sharp practices complained of are no where supported or condoned by any policy statements, missions, visions and aims and objectives of your two important public bodies. They are also not contained in the Nigerian Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005. They are called sharp practices because they are activities and conducts done outside the law or administratively prescribed processes.
For instance, none of the 18 sharp or criminal practices is contained in the “Customers Service Charter” of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, which contains a 56-point rights and obligations of the customers, the PHCN management and the Government of Nigeria. What appears to exist in principle is the celebration of official thievery by the PHCN management by rewarding, promoting and punishing their staffers on the basis of ability or inability to defraud consumers ten folds of what their actual monthly consumption bills ought to be. In the two other important public documents made available on the official website of the Federal Ministry of Power titled: “Installation: Electronic Energy Meter” and “Benefits of Prepaid Meter”, none of the 18 sharp or criminal practices is found in them.
Rather, they are mentioned in the three public documents as possible criminal practices in the PHCN, to be tackled head on once complained of. These 18 sharp practices are in gross violations of the Chapter Four of the Constitution of Nigeria especially rights to life, dignity of human person (right against mental torture), family life and information. They also violate the Chapter Two of the Constitution –rights to health and education as well as the EFCC, ICPC and Electric Power Sector Reform Acts of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The African Chapter on Human & Peoples Rights of 1981, which Nigeria signed, ratified and domesticated in 1983 is also utterly violated by these 18 gross sharp practices.
Our Demands: In view of the foregoing, therefore, we firmly demand as follows:
1. Thorough, unbiased and conclusive administrative and criminal investigations into the 18 sharp practices complained of, which are leveled against the three Business Units particularly the Ogbaru Business Unit. In the area of criminal investigation, the criminal investigative agencies like Police, EFCC, ICPC and the SSS should be invited by your two important public offices.
2. In investigating the 18 sharp practices complained of, the doctrine of Vicarious Liability (senior taking the punitive liability of his or her junior’s illicit acts due to his or her negligence or incompetence) should be strictly applied against the relevant PHCN top- shots including those occupying the offices named above.
3. The failed Abazuonu Iyiowa 300KVA/33/415 substation (transformer) should be repaired as a matter of uttermost urgency.
4. The 493 flat apartments attached to the said transformer, who installed same should be publicly commended and apologized to, after which a 6-month consumption-free bills should be issued to them. The so-called “monthly maintenance charge” of N500.00 per meter should not appear in the free bills being demanded of. The affected consumers must not be a party to any monthly bills from September 2012 till date having been in perpetual outage since then.
5. A new 500 KVA/33/transformer should be provided and installed beside the said Abazuonu Iyiowa substation so as to balance the heavy load burden of the area.
6. The entire outstanding transformers not yet installed including the 300KVA/33/0.415 given to Ogbeukwu village should be installed and energized immediately.
7. Area or field survey should be conducted in the Iyiowa zone in all the substations therein so as to ascertain their conditions, and load-carrying capacities with a view to balancing their loads and effecting major servicing in them.
8. The acts of inducing or forcing consumers to undertake the responsibilities of installing distribution transformers and maintaining faulty ones in the three Business Units under reference should be totally prohibited and made punitive for defaulting PHCN staffers. Also forcing the consumers to write undertakings “donating to or assisting the PHCN”, which is now a routine in the three Business Units should be totally banned.
9. The present case whereby the consumers in the three Business Units are forced and commanded to pay criminally estimated monthly bills of at least N4, 500/N5, 000.00 per post payment meter, without recourse to units actually consumed captured in same, should be abolished. As a matter of fact, the use of estimated monthly bills to bill members of the public who have post payment meters should be forbidden in the entire Business Units under reference.
10. Commercialization and hording of the allocation and installation of the prepayment electronic energy meters to their subscribers in the three Business Units particularly in the Ogbaru Business Unit should totally be prohibited. As a result, the instances highlighted above should be thoroughly investigated and the culprits severely punished and made to refund sums extorted to their victims.
11. New prepayment energy meters should be massively allocated to consumers in the three Business Units particularly those in the Ogbaru Business Unit. Their allocations and installations should be truly free of charge as a matter of practice. The deliberate and criminal technical conditions and demands attached to their operational usage by the PHCN technicians with a view to further defrauding the consumers should be monitored and prohibited.
12. All the senior occupants of the relevant PHCN offices, to wit: former BM for Onitsha, the SMD for Onitsha, former BM for Ogbaru, the SMD for Ogbaru, the Undertaking Manager for Ogbaru, the new BM for Ogbaru (for aiding and abetting) and the former Maintenance Manager for Iyiowa PHCN office as well as other senior and junior staffers connected to distribution and related departments, who were on seat between June 2011 and June 2012 should be thoroughly investigated over their remote and immediate roles in the Abazuonu Iyiowa 300KVA/33/0.415 transformer installation scandal. If wholly or partly found culpable, they should be punished proportionately to their levels of involvement. Any of them found innocence should be spared.
13. The marketing departments in the three Business Units should be thoroughly audited for 2011 and 2012 fiscal years to ascertain the amounts defrauded in the name of “estimated bills” so as to ascertain what were paid into the official PHCN coffers and the remainders and their whereabouts. For issuing fraudulent bills to the innocent consumers and short-changing them to the tune of billions of naira since 2011, the former and incumbent BMs of the three Business Units should be administratively and criminally sanctioned.
14. The heads of the PHCN offices above mentioned including the heads of marketing departments in the three Business Units should criminally be investigated so as to ascertain their present lifestyles including their movable and immovable properties and compare them with their monthly salaries and allowances paid to them since 2011. In this context, your two public bodies should refer them to relevant security and criminal investigative agencies.
Written By Emeka Umeagbalasi
For: Intersociety Nigeria
Chairman, Board of Trustees
Phone: +234(0) 8033601078, +234(0) 8180103912
Email: [email protected]
Comrade Justus Ijeoma
Head, Publicity Desk
Phone: +234(0) 8037114869
1. A copy of Intersociety’s letter to the Ogbaru BM dated 31st October 2012 (marked EX 1).
2. A copy of Intersociety’s 2nd letter to same dated 7th November 2012 (Marked EX 2).
3. A copy of letter addressed to the Manager, Ogbaru Undertaking Unit of the PHCN by Hon. Chukwuka Onyema, dated 1st July 2011 (marked EX 3 ).
4. A copy of written request to the Ogbaru Undertaking Unit by the Iyiowa Electricity Committee dated 6th June 2011 (marked EX 4).
5. A letter of appeal for financial support addressed to Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi regarding the said transformer dated 22nd September 2011 (marked EX 5).
6. A copy of demand/pre-action notice addressed to the Iyiowa Electricity Committee by one Vincent E.O. Nwaeze through Jekwu Anikpeh & Co (solicitors), dated 10th October 2012, demanding for payment of his balance of N30,000 (marked EX 6).
7. A copy of written financial account prepared by the Iyiowa Electricity Committee dated 18th September 2012, which also contained sales invoices of the materials supplied for the installation of the transformer (marked EX 7).
8. A copy of letter-headed sheet from the said PHCN licensed contractor introduced to the Iyiowa Committee by the SMD, containing a quotation worth N463,000 for the repair of the failed Abazuonu Iyiowa transformer (marked EX 8).
9. A copy of the Customers Service Charter of the PHCN (marked EX 9).
10. A copy of public information obtained from the website of the Federal Ministry of Power titled: “Benefits of Prepaid Meter” (marked EX 10).
11. A copy of similar document from the same source titled: “Installation: Electronic Energy Meter” (marked EX 11).
12. Copies of PHCN monthly bills to consumers in Ogbaru and environs containing the said criminally estimated bills (marked EX 12 (a) to EX 12 (j). They are bills for months of July and August 2012 as well as that of October 2012 containing the so-called “maintenance charge” of N500.00).
1.Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan -President & Commander-in-Chief, Federal Republic of Nigeria
2.Mr. Peter Gregory Obi, Governor of Anambra State
3.Honourable Chinwe Nwaebili Speaker, Anambra State House of Assembly
4. Honourable Victor Afam Ogene Member, Representing Ogbaru Federal Constituency, House of Reps, Abuja, Nigeria
5. Dr. Sam I. Gekpe, Power Holding Company of Nigeria PHCN Headquarters, Abuja, Nigeria
6. The Managing Director, Enugu Power Distribution Company PLC PHCN Zonal Headquarters, Enugu, Nigeria