Nigeria’s Rural Electrification Agency Managing Director Enmeshed In Contract Scandal, Gives Own Company N200Million Job
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Rural Electrification Agency, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad is enmeshed in a contract fraud as he awarded his own company a N200 million job.
Recently Ahmad made headlines for operating 37 bank accounts, with all linked to his Bank Verification Number, 2226642****.
The 39-year-old’s name in one of the bank accounts is that of his wife, Bilikisu Ahmad Salihijo with duplicity and variations in the accounts opened in his name, SaharaReporters learnt.
On the back of the revelation, a civil society organisation known as Fight Against Corruption Network, FACN, called on the anti-graft agencies to investigate and prosecute the REA boss through a statement issued by its Executive Director, Ayoola Bakare.
“The call is premised on the necessity to protect the integrity of the nation’s financial system, particularly at these critical hours when banks are facing the ill consequences of the new naira notes and swap policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“Ahmad has two in Standard Chartered Bank with the account name, Needle Technology, and five in GTBank in the same name, while in his personal name, with variations in the order of the three names, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, he has six with GTBANK, four with First Bank, one with UBA, three with Fidelity, one in Stanbic IBTC with the account name, Salihijo Ahmad Foundation.
“Others in his name are one in Jaiz Bank, two at Access Bank, four at First Bank and two at Eco Bank. Some of the accounts have just two names of the operator.
“Also found linked to the REA MD’s BVN are two GTBANK accounts of a non-governmental organisation, Flexisaf Foundation, two in Jaiz Bank with name, Flexisaf Edusoft Ltd, another, Velocity Group Ltd in Keystone Bank, one En Consulting and Projects Ltd in First Bank.
“The others are two under the name of his wife, Bilikisu Ahmad Salihijo domiciled in Zenith Bank and Jaiz Bank with all the aforementioned accounts criminally opened with different dates of birth of the operator: October 20, 1983, July 27, 2009, January 1, 1989, May 3, 2012, January 29, 2015, August 24, 1985, March 30, 2004 among others,” Bakare wrote.
A document obtained by SaharaReporters revealed that a company Ahmad has an interest in as a Director – En Consulting & Projects Limited, successfully bid for a contract worth millions of naira.
The company had its bid for the consultancy service job REA accepted.
REA recently advertised a tender for some of World Bank’s projects under one of its units, Nigeria Electrification Project, with En Consulting & Projects making a successful bid for N200 million job.
In an invitation letter dated April 5, 2022, from REA to En Consulting & Projects and two others; JV of Boston Consulting Group and Banwo & Ighodalofor, which was sighted by our correspondent, there was a meeting to close the deal signed by the Head, Nigeria Electrification Unit, Uche Hannah.
“Following your submission of technical and financial proposals for the Consultancy Services for Performance Agreement Review of Successor Distribution Companies, you are hereby invited for contract negotiation meeting for the assignment,” it read.
However, an investigation revealed the process smacked of infractions and conflict of interests due to one of the winning bidders, En Consulting & Projects’ connection with the REA MD/CEO, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad.
An account in the company’s name is one of the 37 bank accounts linked to Ahmad’s Bank Verification Number.
“It’s illegal for a public officer to engage in any private business, more so to be a private company’s Director and such an entity in his or her place of work is now awarded contract. It is an infraction, bordering on conflict of interests of the highest order.
“The preliminary award of the contract by REA unit to En Consulting & Projects means the mandatory submission of an affidavit by a company applying for government contracts relating that none of its Directors is a public officer was never complied with.
“In fact, it is a self-evident violation of Public Service Code of Conduct, which threw all civilities out of the window if you consider that the unit, Nigeria Electrification Project in charge of the contract is directly under REA MD/CEO. This culture of impunity, nonsense and recklessness are reasons this country remains in the woods and regressing to a lawless dark nation,” a source privy with the contract said.
Conflict of interest arises when a person has a direct or indirect interest in or relationship with a bidder that is or may be reasonably perceived to be unethical due to that person’s influence or ability to affect the procurement process.
This is the reason why the public procurement act provides as follows: “To be eligible to bid for and execute a public procurement contract, every Bidder must: accompany every bid with an affidavit stating whether or not any officer of the bidding company is a former or present director, shareholder or has any pecuniary interest in the contract awarding institution and that all information presented in its bid are true and correct in particulars.”