Posted by By Tobi Soniyi and Oluwole Josiah, Abuja on
The Special Adviser to the President on Electric Power, Mr. Joseph Makoju, on Tuesday tacitly admitted the description of the PHCN.....
The Special Adviser to the President on Electric Power, Mr. Joseph Makoju, on Tuesday tacitly admitted the description of the PHCN by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission as one of the most corrupt institutions in the country.
Makoju, at the maiden ICPC Chairman’s forum in Abuja, disclosed that he investigated 85 cases of alleged corruption during his more than five-year tenure as the managing director of the PHCN.
Fourty of the cases, according to him, were conclusively proven while 29 lacked merit.
Although he was silent on the outcome of the remaning 11cases, he said that 19 staff were fired for their involvement in some of the cases.
While two were demoted, 15 received warning letters and four exonerated.
Makoju, who spoke just as the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, disclosed that two cases of fraud had been uncovered in the ministry, said that 16 other PHCN officials were currently under investigation.
The presidential adviser said that the PHCN took all criticisms against it in good faith because it knew its operations fell short of public expectation.
He said that even though ”we noticed people do not like us,” measures had been put in place to ensure that electricity consumers got value for their money.
Majkoju stated that a major problem he faced when he became the Managing Director of PHCN in 2000, was how to improve on electricity generation.
He said, ”We changed our value system and put the customer first, going round all the locations, preaching change to our staff in order to change our image and also tackle the negative impact of corruption in the agency.
“We found out that a lot of our staff between marketing and distribution were not properly trained.
“We had to tell ourselves and accepted the fact that our staff are involved in corrupt practices.
“It was while we were genuinely trying to change this scenario that ICPC came in to see how it could help us fight corruption and this led to the setting up of an Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit .
“We also set up monitoring units in addition to putting in place a customer service charter which is what we now make available to people to see what benefits they must get from PHCN staff.”
The ICPC Chairman, Justice Emmanuel Ayoola (rtd.), commended Makoju for the initiatives he put in place in PHCN.
He said the EFCC decided to empanel the Chairman‘s Forum to help heads of government agencies bring to the fore, efforts being made to restore integrity in their organisations.
Also in Abuja, the Minister of Culture and Tourism said that his ministry had commenced investigations into two cases of fraud in some of its parastatals.
Speaking with journalists in his office, Fani-Kayode, said that he was amazed by the extent to which people could brazenly steal public funds.
He said, ”The two cases involved really shocked me when they were brought to my notice. We are investigating them.This goes to show that some very bad things are happening.”
The minister explained that one of the cases involved a relatively senior officer,who indulged in collecting money from students and paying same into her personnel account.
“This has been going on for a very long time. At the appropriate time, we will give you the name(of the officer) and other relevant information,” he said.
The second case, according to him, involved an outright collection of approved funds for projects that were never executed.
Fani-Kayode said,” Monies were made available and appropriated in a legitimate way for certain projects, we looked into the whole matter and discovered that indeed the money was collected, but when our staff went to do the investigation, we discovered that absolutely nothing had been done.”
The minister, who declined to name those involved, said, ”We are just giving this information to let you know that this sort of thing exists.”
He said that the news briefing was meant to warn those who indulge in fraud.
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