Diversion of CBN Electricity Meter Funds, Mojec asks CBN to get its facts right

NERC refuses to intervene

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) move to freeze the accounts of some Meter Asset Providers which  it accused of diversion of power funds has been described as a double standard

Mojec Asset Management Company Limited while reacting to the alleged diversion of the Power sector Funds denies diverting any fund for other purposes and described the action of the apex bank as a double standard

According to the company, there are some companies that have benefited from the fund and did not do the contract, and yet they are left out of the list of those to be investigated.

“Why are those companies not mentioned, yet, those that installed meters are being haunted.”

Chantelle Abdul, managing director and chief executive officer of Mojec International Limited while reacting to this development in an interview with the writer on Tuesday, said that payments for the contracts are performance-based, adding that payment is not made to them until their jobs are certified good.

“The CBN still owes my company some money for meter installations done which it is yet to pay,” she said.

Also Read: Electric Power Generation, Distribution and Pegging: Is the New NERC Order on the Capping of Estimated Bills a Solution?

She said the action of CBN is inimical to the economy of the country as it may close down some businesses with many people losing their jobs.

She asked: “Did CBN  carry out an investigation and discovered that we did not our jobs?

According to her, the programme has helped the government to achieve a lot in terms of metering houses which ordinarily would not have happened if the government was left alone with the project.

It is not only Mojec that is listed there, there are many other companies, she said

What is the aim and objective of the Motion Exparte that the CBN filed for? Why file the case in Lokoja and not in Abuja?

She stated further that she is ready to make available to the public the installation certificates and the total number of meters Mojec has installed.

Also Read: EKO Disco Begins 72-hour Metering For Customers

The situation of the Meter Asset Providers is not helped by the fact that the Nigerian Electric Regulatory Commission (NERC) is alleged to have claimed that it is helpless on the issue. This is, despite being the regulator of the power industry and it could not see the danger, the CBN action portends to the power industry

Business Standards effort to get the reaction of the commission also was not fruitful as whatsapp messages sent to officials of the commission were not responded to.

Meanwhile, First Bank, Access, Zenith and Guaranty Trust Banks lead the packs of those banks where the accounts of these meter providers are domiciled.

Other banks are Sterling Bank, Polaris Bank, TAJ Bank, Fidelity, StanbicIbtc, UBA, FCMB and Ecobank.

According to CBN, the grounds on which it brought the application for the accounts to be frozen  for 180 days are:

“To review  the activities of  the twelve 12 including the defendants, herein Meter Asset Providers (MAPS) alleged to have diverted the Central Bank ‘s power  sector intervention Fund Under the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) .”

“The review was aimed at ascertaining the flow of funds meant for Maps, covering the period January 2020 to March 15th, 2022.”

“Primary Review revealed that the defendant diverted a substantial portion of the fund for other uses through related entities and individual /companies connected to electricity distribution companies (Disco) and defunct power holding Company of Nigeria. (PHCN)”

“The diversion of the power sector intervention fund  under the National Mass Metering Programme( NMMP) provided by the applicant ‘s banks has further occasioned grave instability in the power sector and sustained estimated billing regime which the Federal Government is making frantic effort to make it a thing of the past.”

“The diversion of the fund through the said bank accounts of defendants has continually undermined the applicant’s bank intervention system of supporting various sectors of the Nigerian economy.

“Diversion of said fund and sustained Instability in the power sector is capable of causing significant economic and financial loss to investors as well as the entire system as well the Nigeria economy in general, if not curtailed.”

An order of this Honourable Court is required urgently to empower the applicant to direct the afore listed banks to freeze the defendants’ accounts, pending the outcome of the investigation of the Central Bank or referral of same to an appropriate agency

The Central Bank Nigeria of (CBN) on July 20th, 2022 approached the Federal  High Court, Lokoja, Kogi State, seeking to get Motion Exparte to freeze accounts of 10 companies that are currently engaged in the National Mass Metering Project with electricity distribution companies.

According to the CBN, the Motion Exparte was brought  to the  court pursuant to  order 26 rules 6,7 and 8 of the Federal High Court  civil procedure rules  2019, sections 1(2) and 97 (!) of the Banks and Other  Financial  Institutions Acts (BOFIA) 2020 (as Amended) and Under the Inherent Jurisdiction of this honourable  Court

In suit no, FHC/LKJ/CS/42/2022, between Central Bank and10 companies, the apex bank is seeking a mandatory order of the court to empower the applicant, which is CBN, “ to direct the head offices of the banks mentioned to freeze forthwith all transactions on the under listed accounts and all other banks accounts of the defendants for a period of 180 days pending the outcome of investigations and inquiry being conducted by CBN.  To wit:

The companies affected are: Mojec Asset Mgt  Company ltd, Integrated Power ltd, Holy Metering ltd, Protogy Global Services, Turbo Energy Limited, G unit Engineering, Koby Global  Engineering Services ltd, FLT  Energy System ltd, Smart Meters Access Provider Company Limited, Cresthill Engineering ltd.

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