The disagreement between the government and Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) may just be getting worse as the National Economic Council, (NEC) on Thursday hinted that it would embark on a forensic audit of all bank accounts belonging to the companies.
Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shuaibu, gave the hint while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the NEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa Abuja earlier same day.
He said that the report of the Governor Nasir el-Rufai committee set up by the NEC to ascertain the ownership structure of the electricity power distribution companies would be submitting its report in two months time, adding that the committee had sought approval of the NEC for the time extension which was granted.
According to him, “NEC received an update on the review of the status of ownership structure of the electricity power distribution companies. The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai briefed NEC on the progress so far made and the responses so far received from general public.
“He also told NEC that they will be carrying out forensic audit of all bank accounts of all DISCOs and state governments to provide all details of their investments in the electricity distribution companies.
“The committee also seeks approval from NEC for additional time to complete the report in two months and also the state governments to file reports of their investments in DISCOs”
Asked whether the governors were in support of the reversal on electricity investment contracts with the DISCOs over poor performance, he replied that “nobody is happy with the DISCOs performance and we have a committee chaired by the governor of Kaduna state and they have done very beautiful job.
“They have placed advertisements in about five newspapers and have asked the general public to give them information on performance of these DisCos and also investments made by private individuals and private sectors.
“And also the governors are requested before the end of March to also submit all their investments from 2013 to date, so that we will get it all together and were directed by the electricity authority to stamp our claims.
“I think the federal government is trying to take the bull by the horn by trying to find out what investments these DisCos made towards this privatization. The first suspicion is that they have made no substantial investment and we will take it when we get all the solutions.
“On the DisCos, one of the reasons why the committee asked for additional two months was to deal with two other issues that arose during NEC.
“And one of those issues was the issue of forensic and to ascertain the level of investment by DisCos. You all know that the issue of privatization is still questionable but nonetheless, the federal government and governors feel we should not lament, what we should do is look for solution.
“Because if government laments, the populace will definitely lose hope. So they need the additional two months so that when they are reporting to council it will be holistic so that when council decision will be made that will deal with the issue of the DISCOs.”