Energy commission workers to drag D-G to EFCC over alleged $975m fraud

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Workers of the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) have vowed to drag Prof. Eli Bala, the Director-General of the commission before anti graft agencies over alleged mismanagement of 975 million dollars.

Mr Promise Chukwu, the Chairman, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ECN Unit, said in Abuja on Tuesday that the amount was for the Lake Chad Basin project.

Chukwu said that there was need to unravel the alleged corrupt practice and other irregularities under Bala’s watch.

“It is imperative to specifically draw the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari and the public to the need to direct anti-corruption agencies to unravel the grand corruption and mismanagement of international donor funded projects shrouded in secrecy.

“It is important to particularly unravel the mystery surrounding how African Development Bank Fund of about 975 million U. S. dollars Lake Chad Basin project was expended.

“Similarly, millions of naira had been budgeted and squandered under the National Energy Data Bank project with nothing to show for it,’’ Chukwu said.

The ECN staff union on June 19 embarked on an indefinite strike to protest the reappointment of Eli for a second term.

The union appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse Bala’s reappointment and investigate him over alleged maladministration as well as flagrant indifference to public service regulations.

Chukwu further accused the D-G of continuously perpetrating deliberate unfair labour practices by refusing to implement agreements reached with the staff union.

“Another sad and pathetic reality the staff of ECN suffered under Bala for five years was his inability to create functional divisions, branches and sections within the technical department of the commission.

“He also failed to define job schedules for the staff as well as any form of mandatory career progression training required to bridge the large skills gap and manpower requirement to execute ECN mandate,’’ he said.

Chukwu emphasised the need for the Federal Government to set up an independent administrative enquiry to examine the capabilities of the members of the ECN management to address the labour-related issues.

The chairman said that the workers’ petition would be submitted to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on or before Friday, June 29.

NAN correspondent who visited the headquarters of the commission reports that workers of the organisation were loafing around during work hours.

While some of them danced to the music playing on the premises, some engaged in table tennis competition and others sat down at different locations discussing among themselves.

The protesting workers also had placards with inscriptions such as “EFCC Please Investigate ECN’s Financial Transactions in Project Account’’ and “Incessant Violation of Financial Regulations in Energy Commission of Nigeria’’.

All efforts to get the Director General’s reaction was unsuccessful.
Bala, through the receptionist, said “I will reach you when I need you’’. (NAN)

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