The Managing Director, Nigerian Bulk Electricity Company (NBEC), Mrs Marilyn Amobi, is in the news again, this time over alleged flagrant abuse of office, official misconduct and impunity.
The NBEC boss has been accused of running a private company located in the United Kingdom while maintaining her public position as the MD of a public company in Nigeria. She is accused of owning some 100 per cent in shares at ESL Economics and Management Associates Ltd based in the UK.
In a bid to punish her infractions, Nigeria’s leading anti-corruption group — Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) – has asked President Mohammadu Buhari to immediately probe the allegations levelled against Amobi.
Buhari is also urged to direct the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) to try the errant CEO.
HEDA in a letter addressed to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and copied the President, said:”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.
The group in a letter signed by HEDA Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, a copy of which was made available to Persecondnews, also wants her international partners in the UK to beam their searchlight on Amobi with the hope of assisting local investigative efforts.
According to a 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 a report by the Premium Times newspaper involving 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 to the letter to Buhari and CCB, pointing 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 foul 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.”
“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,” HEDA insisted.