More facts have emerged of how Managing Director/CEO of Rural Electrification Agency, Engr. Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad. allegedly opened over 37 bank accounts to conceal proceeds of his fraudulent deals.
According to report in The Eagle Online, the 39-year-old MD was recently dragged before the Code of Conduct Bureau for an alleged infraction.
In the latest discovery, the 37 bank accounts were in Ahmad’s name, that of a supposed relative, companies and a amorphous Non Governmental Organisation, but all with the same Bank Verification Number: 22266427052, linked to the MD’s account
The startling discovery is the result of a discreet investigation by this medium.
On the long list are: two in Standard Chartered Bank with the name: Needle Technology; five in Guarantee Trust Bank in the same name, while in his personal name, with variations in how the three names, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, were arranged, has six with GT, four with First Bank, one with United Bank for Africa, three with Fidelity Bank, 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 Ecobank.
Also found linked to the REA MD’s BVN are two GTB accounts of an NGO, Flexisaf Foundation; two in Jaiz Bank with the name: Flexisaf Edusoft Limited; another: Velocity Group Limited in Keystone Bank; one En Consulting And Projects Limited in First Bank.
The others are two under the name: Bilikisu Ahmad Salihijo, are domiciled in Zenith Bank and Jaiz Bank with all the aforementioned accounts opened with varying dates of birth of the operator.
Insiders said the accounts have come in handy when the owner desired to conceal his shares of proceeds accruing from monkey businesses he has hands in, in the agency created in 2006 as part of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act.
Last year, a Civil Society Organisation, Stop Corruption in Nigeria Foundation, called Engr. Ahmad and the REA’s Executive Director, Technical Service, Engr. Barka Sajor Joda, out.
This was done by a petition against them to the Minister for Power, Abubakar Aliyu, in which the CSO accused the duo of N2 billion misapplication.
In it, Ahmad and Joda were alleged to have awarded supervision contracts to the tune of N2 billion to 37 companies, most of which have no background in engineering to oversee jobs contracted out to engineering firms.
The report added that both sidestepped due process and bypassed over 150 engineers in REA’s employ to award the supervision to their ill-qualified cronies with each receiving N49 million.
By that account, many of the beneficiaries of the imprudence eventually engaged the services of some REA engineers with peanuts to do the jobs on their behalves.
The petitioner’s application, dated March 10, 2022 and entitled: “Corruption Alert in Rural Electrification Agency (REA) Again, reads in part: “We have it on good authority that some unwholesome activities have been going on unabated at REA since February 2021 till date. Hon. Minister Sir, it would interest you to learn that the Managing Director and Executive Director Technical Service have turned your agency into personal business ventures where they now award what they tag ‘Consultancy Service’ almost on a weekly basis! ‘Consultancy Services’ contracts were awarded by the duo without due process. A breakdown of details of the consultancy services used to siphon funds from the coffer of REA is attached as Annexure.
“We discovered that the Agency has expended at least Forty Nine Million Naira (N49 million) on each ‘Consultancy Service’ contract and close to total of Two Billion Naira (N2bn) in above regard in the last one year. The funds expended in this regard do not constitute line budget of the ministry, instead, same is diverted from the funds meant for Monitoring and sundry projects and consequently shrinking the budget and limiting the effectiveness of Monitoring Unit and projects mainly because some officers are hellbent on embezzling the funds of REA. These are verifiable facts and we urge you and the relevant bodies, authorities and agencies to investigate every shred of our petition.”
In a similar fashion to that of his MD with whom Sajor is accused of wheeling and dealing together in the agency, the latter has 14 bank accounts to his BVN: 22169699916, seven in GTB, six of which are in his name, while one is under the name of Estate of Joseph Joda Sajou.
Three are in Standard Chartered Bank, same number in Ecobank, while two are in Access Bank.
Meanwhile, an aggrieved consultant in the Advanced Cargo Declaration/Cargo Tracking Note Scheme, Donnington Nigeria Limited, has written the Code of Conduct Bureau over the alleged unlawful role played by Ahmad in the award of the project.
The firm in a letter of complaint dated April 25, 2023 and addressed to the CCB’s Chairman, specifically accused Ahmad of conflict of Interest as well as breach of Section 5 and 6 of the CCB and the Code of Conduct Tribunal Act.
According to the petitioner, it was wrong and unlawful for Ahmad to hold the position of a Director in Velocity Logistics and Marine Services Limited (Velocity), while at the same time being the boss of the NREA.
Donnington Nigeria Limited in the letter recalled that while Velocity “was incorporated at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) with RC:666694 with Ahmad as one of the directors in September 14, 2006, the federal government however appointed Ahmad as the Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of REA in 2019”, adding: “The said appointment was accepted by Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, without relinquishing his Directorship of the private Company, Velocity Logistics & Marine Services Ltd.”
Lead lawyer to the firm, Dr. R. O. Atabo (SAN), went ahead to point out: “Ahmad, being a prominent personality in this administration, at the helm of affairs of REA and on the corridors of power, must have directly or indirectly influenced the ‘No Objection’ granted on 24th November, 2022 By Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) for the fraudulent award of Contract for the Implementation of Advance Cargo Declaration/Cargo Tracking Note Scheme Regime to include Crude Oil Tracking to five companies, including Velocity Logistics & Marine Services Ltd, on the Board of which Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad remains an active director, but must have deliberately refused to disclose the fact on oath to BPP, who in due diligence, would not have issued ‘the No Objection’, if the fact of such conflict of interest was disclosed. A suit has been instituted at the Federal High Court, Abuja in this regard.
“That the object of Velocity is such that Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad’s continuous sojourning as a Director of Velocity Logistics & Marine Services Ltd even as he serves as the MD/CEO of REA is tantamount to conflict of interest and contravention of Code of Conduct as a public officer as provided in Sections 5 and 6 of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act. Consequent upon the forgoing ’Dr. Reuben Atabo’ SAN humbly request the CCB to use its good offices pursuant to Section 23 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act to investigate and sanction this impunity.
“Consequent upon the foregoing, we humbly request that you use your good offices, pursuant to Section 23 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, to investigate and sanction this impunity, recklessness, abuse of office and breach of Laws appropriately.”
In the suit filed before a Federal High Court in Abuja last year, the firm had asked the court to stop the Federal Government from interfering in the implementation of the Cargo Tracking Note Scheme.
Defendants in the suit are the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Federal Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Transportation.
The suit was as a result of the alleged breach of the contract agreement by the Federal Government.
According to the plaintiff, proposal for the re-introduction of Cargo Tracking Scheme as a source of foreign exchange earnings for the government was approved by the President Muhammadu Buhari on May 4, 2021 for implementation of Advanced Cargo declaration/Cargo Tracking Note Scheme Regime to include Crude Oil for exportation.
The Plaintiff said after the approval, it engaged two technical partners, Messrs Vortexa Limited, UK and OPE World Dubai UAE respectively.
The suit said: “The Plaintiff/Applicant brought the Technical Partners from the United Kingdom (UK) and the United Arab Emirate (UAE) for the display of the Advanced Advanced Cargo declaration/Cargo Tracking Note Regime to the Government agencies of the Defendants/Respondents on the requests of the Defendants and after the display, the agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria were Satisfied.
“Following the request by the 1st Defendant and some of its agencies particularly the 37 and 4th Defendants, the Plaintiff/Applicant embarked on the procurement of a portal wherein it was charged about $370,000 and a deposit payment of $170,000 was made.
“The Plaintiff has expended over $3,000,000 in the process of complying with the requirements F. A “No Objection” Certificate was to be issued by the bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) which is the final stage of the process but the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) in defiance of the Presidential approval of May 4, 2021 has failed/ neglected to issue the certificate.
“It is necessary for this Honourable Court to restrain the Defendants from engaging any other consultants to execute the Advanced Cargo declaration/Cargo Tracking Note Scheme.”
Donnington Nigeria Limited accordingly prayed the court for an interlocutory injunction restraining the respondent either by themselves, agents, privies, and or servants from engaging another Consultant to implement the Advanced Cargo declaration/Cargo Tracking Note Regime or taking any steps or further steps in respect of the subject matter of this suit, other than the Plaintiff/Applicant pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
The plaintiffs also prayed the court to make an order against the government of Nigeria from interfering or stopping the further implementation of the Advanced Cargo declaration/Cargo Tracking Note Regime already commenced by the plaintiff/Applicant pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
The firm prayed for an order restraining the Defendants either by themselves, agents, privies, assigns, and or servants including any agency or agencies of the federal government of Nigeria from engaging any Consultant(s), Companies or firms, or nominating any other firm other than the Plaintiff/Applicant which was commenced through the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources sometime in 2021 pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.