President Mohammadu Buhari and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) have been asked to investigate strong allegations of misconduct levelled against the Managing Director, Nigerian Bulk Electricity Company (NBEC), Mrs Marilyn Amobi.
The NBEC boss has been accused of running a private company located in the United Kingdom (UK) while maintaining her public position in Nigeria. She is accused of owning some 100 per cent in shares at ESL Economics and Management Associates Ltd based in the UK.
Nigeria’s leading anti-corruption group, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), in a letter last month addressed to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) with a copy sent to President Mohammadu Buhari called for the immediate probe of the allegations levelled against Amobi. The letter was signed by HEDA Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju.
“It is important to investigate these allegations. Mrs Amobi cannot be running a private company and at the same time holding a sensitive public-driven position in Nigeria. That is against the constitution and runs against the Code of Conduct Bureau rules”, Olanrewaju said.
The group has asked her international partners in the UK to beam the searchlight on Amobi with the hope of assisting local investigative efforts.
HEDA said there were reports that the Managing Director of Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company, Marilyn Amobi, has continued to manage and direct her private company in the United Kingdom. According to the report, ESL Economics and Management Associates Limited, with company number, 06413894, incorporated in the UK in 2007 which the Managing Director is alleged to control 100 per cent of its shares, according to the Companies House in London.
The anti-corruption group said in the light of the information and the allegations by the some Nigerians and report by the Premiumtimes Newspaper including that the Managing Director at the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company, allegedly served as a Managing director of the ESL Economics and Management Associates Limited, private Company Limited by Shares, incorporated in the United Kingdom, the conflict of interest is obvious. HEDA also attached documents indicating that Mrs. Marilyn Amobi signed financial documents on behalf of the private company.
HEDA pointed out by her act, the Code of Conduct for Public Officers has been breached.
“The above conveyed constitutes a flagrant abuse of office and the undue exercise of privilege and impunity by a public officer. It portrays total disrespect for democracy and Nigeria as a whole. We most humbly hold that the above allegations levelled against the Managing Director at the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company is a strong disdain for public accountability and established checks and balances under the laws” Suraju said.
The anti-graft group said the allegations run afoul of Paragraphs 1 and 2 of The fifth schedule to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Altered), Section 1 of the Code states that a public officer shall not put himself in a position where his interest conflicts with his duties and responsibilities.
It noted that Section 2 of the schedule states that without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing paragraph, public officer shall not a) receive or be paid the emoluments of any public office at the same time as he receives or is paid the emoluments of any other public office; or b) Except where he is not employed on full time basis, engage or participate in the management or running of any private business, profession or trade; but nothing in this paragraph shall prevent a public officer from engaging in farming or participating in the managing or running of any farm (Emphasis added)
HEDA cited the Code of Conduct of Public Officers in Section 18 of the Code which states that “(1) Where the Code of Conduct Tribunal finds a public officer guilty of contravention of any of the provisions of this Code it shall impose upon that officer any of the punishments specified under sub-paragraph (2) of this paragraph and such other punishment as may be prescribed by the National Assembly.
It reminded the CCB of the punishment for such infraction including punishment like vacation of office or seat in any legislative house, as the case may be; disqualification from membership of a legislative house and from the holding of any public office for a period not exceeding ten years; and seizure and forfeiture to the State of any property acquired in abuse or corruption of office.”
HEDA said “We believe strongly in due process and the rule of law which is why we have forwarded this petition to your office for an urgent action. We humbly demand that an urgent and immediate investigation be initiated on the above report to uncover the true position of these allegations with the aim of shedding light and possible prosecution.”