N11trn Electricity Fraud Allegation Infuriates Jonathan

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Former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, has reacted to the report that he was among the past leaders who wasted over N11trillion on almost non-existent electricity generation and supply to millions of Nigerians.
It would be recalled that the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), had last Wednesday, disclosed how over N11trillion meant for the provision of electricity supply was allegedly squandered in the 16 years of the administrations of former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.
SERAP had claimed that corruption in the electricity sector started during the administration of Obasanjo in 1999.
But Jonathan, while reacting to the claim through his former aide on new media, Reno Omokri, described the report as false and baseless.
He said the story was false, describing it as the fruit of the laziness of the researchers who could have taken advantage of the Freedom of Information Act that Jonathan signed into law in May, 2011, to extract right information on the electricity sector expenditure over the period under review.
The former president’s statement reads: “My attention has been drawn to the story, ‘Obasanjo, Yar’Adua, Jonathan wasted N11trillion on electricity –SERAP’, published most prominently in The Punch newspapers on August 10, 2017, and less prominently in other papers.
“While I cannot speak for others, I can certainly say that as touching former President Goodluck Jonathan, the story is false, and is the fruit of the laziness of the researchers who could have taken advantage of the Freedom of Information Act that Jonathan signed into law in May, 2011 to get records and data from relevant government ministries, departments and agencies that would have given them a fuller picture instead of the narrow view they have.
“Former President,Goodluck Jonathan could not have wasted N11 trillion or any other amounts of money for the simple reason that he was the Nigerian president who privatised the power sector beginning on August 26, 2010, when he launched the roadmap to power sector reforms, and culminating on October 16, 2012, when the winning bids were announced for the sale of power generating and distributing companies.
“SERAP may do well to remember that on Monday, the 30th of September, 2013, at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, former President Jonathan successfully handed over the bulk of Nigeria’s power infrastructure to successful private sector bidders after they had made payments for the assets they acquired.
“At that event, he said ‘I congratulate our new owners who have taken over the engines and cables that are expected to drive not just the electricity industry but also the socio-economic wellbeing of the nation’.
“In total, the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) was split into six generation and 11 distribution firms, all sold separately, for about $2.5billion for which the Jonathan administration received much deserved praise.
“In fact, rather than wasting money, the Jonathan administration generated money for the federation from the sale of these assets which were seen to be transparent and followed global best practices.
“Between May 6, 2010, when he was first sworn in as president to May 29, 2015, when he handed over power, the budget for the Ministry of Power under Jonathan was not up to N400 billion in total for the simple reason that his administration had succeeded in transferring most of Nigeria’s power assets, liabilities and personnel from the public sector to the private sector.
“As such, it is evidently clear that any allegation that the Jonathan government wasted trillions is not a well thought-out allegation at best, and is a figment of the imagination of the makers at worse”.
“I do hope those papers which published this false report against the person of former president Jonathan and the administration that he led will be honourable enough to set the records straight for posterity,” the statement added.