Monday, March 31, 2008

Obasanjo Again?

Hi folks,

This is incredible o! Will we ever get over the damage of Obasanjo govt on our pysche?

Obasanjo’s Coy In Billion- dollar Contract Deals (Leadership Newspapers)

• Reps to subpoena Nenadi Usman

Iyobosa Uwugiaren

More stinking revelations oozing out from the ongoing probe of the power sector by the House of Representatives suggest that Unistar Hi-Tech System Limited, a company jointly owned by a China-based company and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, got a billion dollar contract from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) for the manufacture and supply of prepaid energy metres in the country.

Unistar Hi-Tech Systems Limited with its registration address at No. 389 Ikorodu Road, Ojota, Lagos State, is owned by Henan Star Hi-Tech Co. Ltd, a China- based company and Unipumps Investment Company Limited, also located at 389 Ikorodu Road, Ojota, Lagos. Unipumps Investment Company Limited, a co-owner of Unistar, was floated on November 4, 2003, by Obasanjo Holdings Limited, located at 56 Quarry Road, Abeokuta, Ogun State, and Biacpl FZE, a Dubai, United Arab Emirates based company. Obasanjo, according to LEADERSHIP investigation, has 7,300,000 shares while Biacpl has 2,700,000 shares in the company. Investigations reveal that Unipumps Investments Company Limited, in which Obasanjo has huge business interest, was used as a front to secure the multi-billion dollar contract for Unistar Hi-Tech Systems Limited.

According to a certified true copy of Memorandum and Article of Association of Unistar Hi-Tech, obtained from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), the company was established to, among other things, "take over and manage the agreement and understanding entered into between National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) – now PHCN in Nigeria - and Henan Star Hi-Tech Co. Ltd for the manufacture and supply of prepaid energy metre"; to "establish" own and manage an industry or industries for the manufacture of prepaid energy metres".

The company also has the mandate to "apply Henan Star metre technique and manufacturing equipment in the production, servicing and recharge of prepaid energy metre" in Nigeria, and to "purchase the meters, components and materials" from China. "At present, Unistar Hi-Tech Systems Limited owned by former President Olusegun Obasanjo is installing prepaid metres, selling, re-charge cards for the prepaid meters across the nation and PHCN staff are not doing anything," source in PHCN said.

Our source added that the huge part of over $16.9 billion collected from the nation’s treasury by the Obasanjo-led regime was diverted to the Unistar Hi-Tech System Limited’s business interest. "If the National Assembly is interested in getting to the root of the enormous problems facing the power sector, it must also look at the activities of Unistar Hi-Tech Systems Limited and the questionable contract it entered into with PHCN," our source added.

Obasanjo’s business fronts, Unistar Hi-Tech System Limited and Unipumps Investment Company Limited, according to LEADERSHIP investigations, were registered at the CAC the same day – November 4, 2003, by same lawyer, Mr. Lucky Onyema Egede of No. 389 Ikorodu Road, Ojota, Lagos Sate.

As indicated in the Memorandum and Articles of Association, Unipumps Investment Company Limited was registered to "carry out business as investment holding company and in that capacity to acquire, buy, hold, trade in shares, stocks, bonds, debentures and treasury bills."

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives Committee on Power and Steel probing the $16 billion allegedly expended on power between 1999 and 2007 may issue a warrant for the arrest of a former minister of finance, Mrs. Esther Nenadi Usman, anytime this week, for failing to honour the summons of the investigative body.

This is just as the committee commences visits to project sites for an on-the-spot assessment of contract works on power stations across the country.

Chairman of the committee Ndudi Godwin Elumelu had, last Thursday, expressed dismay at the actions of the former minister, who has repeatedly refused to appear before the public hearing to answer questions relating to the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP) contracts during her tenure.

Elumelu, at the venue of the public hearing, confirmed that the committee was concerned about the attitude of Mrs. Usman but would still take a decision on her, after the testimony of former solid minerals minister, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, and former finance minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

When the duo appeared before the committee last week, Okonjo-Iweala absolved herself of any wrongdoing in the financing of the NIPP and disclosed that Obasanjo approved due process waivers for the projects.

Dr. Ezekwesili, for her part, faulted the due process waiver granted by her former boss, noting that due process has no provision for waivers and she never supported it.

LEADERSHIP learnt yesterday that the committee has resolved to subpoena Mrs. Usman since she has consistently refused to honour its invitation. Although the chairman could not be reached on phone, a member of the committee confirmed to our correspondent that a warrant will be issued this week for her arrest.

The member said: "You know, we have to finish this assignment so that we can submit the report to the House for deliberation. So, no individual will be allowed to weigh us down. If she does not respond this week, we will invoke the relevant portions of the constitution.

"I am sure you know what sections 88 and 89 of the constitution says. This committee has the power to invite anybody to come and give evidence and if one fails to submit himself or herself, we also have the powers to get the person arrested."

Section 89(1)(d) of the 1999 empowers the National Assembly to "issue a warrant to compel the attendance of any person who, after having been summoned to attend, fails, refuses or neglects to do so and does not excuse such failure, refusal or neglect to the satisfaction of the House or the committee in question, and order him to pay all costs, which may have been occasioned in compelling his attendance or by reason of his failure, refusal or neglect to obey the summons, and also to impose such fine as may be prescribed for any such failure, refusal or neglect; and any fine.

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