Rural Electrification Agency MD, Technical Service Director in alleged N2bn fraud

Engr Ahmad Salijo Ahmad, REA MD

Ahmad Salijo Ahmad, Managing Director of Rural Electrification Agency, REA and the Executive Director, Technical Service, Barka Sajor Joda are embroiled in an alleged N2 billion financial scandal.

A Civil Society Organisation, Stop Corruption in Nigeria Foundation threw accusation of perpetration of a N2 billion alleged fraud in REA within a year at Ahmad and Joda, both are Engineers.

The allegation was contained in a petition the whistleblowing organisation authored to the Minister for Power, Abubakar Aliyu, while the Bureau of Public Procurement and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, were copied.

On the strength of the petition dated March 10, 2022 and entitled, Corruption Alert in Rural Electrification Agency (REA) Again, in recent time some REA officials are frequenters of the antigraft agency, to explain their own roles in the corruption slur against the two persons of interest.

The accuser also dropped hint of the Power Minister’s complicity in the unethical behaviour, alleging that the transgression was perpetrated under his nose.

Abubakar’s failure to lift a finger over the matter since it was officially brought to his notice over a month ago has reinforced opinion in the rumour mill in REA Abuja headquarters that he is not an innocent bystander.

In the petition, the MD and the Technical Service Director together with 37 consultants were said to have defrauded REA of about N2bn under the cover of a consultancy arrangements in which the so-called consultants’ services were procured to supervise contracts awarded by the agency.

This is despite the fact that REA has over 150 engineers including interns in its employ.

The process of seeking and obtaining the necessary approvals for the job-for-the-boys scheme, which was reportedly not in the agency’s budget from the Power Ministry was said to enjoy compromise under the Minister’s watch.

The supposed consultants got N49m each, some within three weeks to supervise REA jobs awarded contractors.

A misappropriation and misapplication of funds to say the least that cost the agency about N2bn, the irony was that most of the consultants didn’t know jack about what they were paid to do and had to turn to REA engineers who they engaged for the supervision and paid N2 million each.

Quoting the petition: “We have it on good authority that some unwholesome activities have been going on unabated at REA since February 2021 till date.

Hon. Minister Sir, it would interest you to learn that the Managing Director and Executive Director, Technical Service have turned your agency into personal business ventures where they now award what they tag ‘Consultancy Service” almost on a weekly basis!.

‘Consultancy Services’ contracts were awarded by the duo without due process. A breakdown of details of the consultancy services used to siphon funds from the coffer of REA is attached as Annexure.”

Continued: “We discovered that the Agency has expended at least Forty Nine Million Naira (N49 million) on each ‘Consultancy Service’ contract and close to total of Two Billion Naira (N2bn) in above regard in the last one year.

“The funds expended in this regard do not constitute line budget of the ministry, instead, same is diverted from the funds meant for Monitoring and sundry projects and consequently shrinking the budget and limiting the effectiveness of Monitoring Unit and projects mainly because some officers are hellbent on embezzling the funds of REA.

“These are verifiable facts and we urge you and the relevant bodies, authorities and agencies to investigate every shred of our petition.”

Investigation revealed that Ahmed and Jador hold the whole due and procurement processes in contempt allegedly constituting nuisance in contract matters.

“The two guys act with impunity without regards for due process. They would award contracts to unqualified companies with links to them and won’t allow contractors to do their jobs.

Instead, the pair would want to do it for the contractors by fire by force,” impeccable sources said.

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