Shell, Total cut gas supply to GenCos over debts

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…As More cash found in CJN Onnoghen’s accounts***

Four gas generating companies (GenCos) have shut down production as a result of their failure to pay gas debts owed Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and Total, as well as their inability to access fresh loans for gas, The Nation learnt yesterday.

Consequent upon the liquidity issue that has now exposed the GenCos to over N1trillion shortfall, some of the GenCos have now resorted to securing credit facilities from commercial banks to sustain their production.

The Executive Secretary, Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), Joy Ogaji, who spoke on phone yesterday, said the power plants shutdown production due to lack of access to take loans.

Asked to mention the four power generating firms that have stopped production, she declined, stressing that the companies would not want their names mentioned because of it is political season.

She said: “Some of the GenCos that can access loans have resorted to taking loans to buy gas. Others that don’t have access to such loans are shutting down. Shell and Total have shutdown some of the power plants; they want the power plants to pay them.

“From what we got, it is about four plants. Some of them don’t want their names mentioned. You know it is political season now.”

Meanwhile, at 6:00 hour of yesterday, power generation was 4,069.90Mw. It was 4,092.1Mw on December 29 last year and 3,806.0Mw as at January 2.

According to the Minister of Power Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, the power sector now generates 7000Mw as a result of the N701billion Power Assurance Guarantee.

But Ogaji had on Monday raised the alarm over the liquidity challenges facing the electricity generation companies otherwise known as Gencos , saying that their current shortfall has exceeded N1trillion.

Speaking with The Nation on phone, she noted that the N701billion Power Assurance Guarantee, which the Federal Executive Council approved for the companies in the first quarter of 2017, has been exhausted.

According to her, there was a high hope that the Federal Government would make the electricity distribution companies (DisCos) pay at least 80 per cent of their invoices but the government has not realise it.

She said: “The major problem that the generation companies are facing now is that of liquidity. The N701billion is over. The government has not succeeded in making the DisCos to pay at least 80 per cent of their invoices. The N701billion got finished in December. We don’t know how the Gencos will survive.”

Insisting that the major problem confronting the companies is that of liquidity and not gas supply, she noted that the GenCos have not exhausted their present allocation of gas to power.

The inability to pay for the gas, according to her, is responsible for the low utilization of gas.

Continuing, she said “we have neither been able to pay for gas nor provide the gurantee.”

The Executive Secretary, who was asked how the increase in the fine or penalty for gas flaring has affected the supply of gas for power, described the regulation as a welcome development, which does not in any way make any difference in the gas to power.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola had late last year told reporters in Minna, Niger State that owing to the Power Assurance Guarantee payment to Gencos, their monthly payment had risen 20% to 80%, bringing their production to 7,000mw.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Mr. Mohammed Gur Usman had in December told reporters in Abuja that the recent increase in the penalty for gas flaring by the Department of Petroleum Resources ( DPR) would lead to increase in gas to power to further boost power supply in the country.
But Barrister Joy Ogaji insisted yesterday that liquidity and not gas is the problem of the companies.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Company, Dr. Marilyn Amobi Company Managing Director, whom The Nation asked on phone whether the Federal Government is planning another phase of power sector intervention for the GenCos, requested our Abuja correspondent to write a letter to request for the information.

In the meantime, detectives may have found more “suspicious” funds in Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Walter Onnoghen’s accounts, The Nation has learnt.

There are also “suspicious” transactions, including an $800,000  Standard Chartered Bank investment subscription, sources said.

Also found is $630,000 lodged in some of the accounts through what is described as “structured payments” in tranches of $10,000 each.

Most of the lodgments, effected between 2012 and 2016, were undeclared in Justice Onnoghen’s assets declaration form, the sources claimed, pleading not to be named because of the “sensitivity” of the investigation.

The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) has  restricted  the operation of five accounts with about $3million

The accounts in the Standard Chartered Bank are USD No. 870001062650; Euro account No. 93001062686; Pound Sterling A/CNo. 285001062679; e-Saver Savings (Naira) account No. 5001062693; and a  Naira A/C No. 0001062667.

Detectives believe that most of the lodgments and transactions are “suspicious”.

The Nation has stumbled on an intelligence report on the CJN’s accounts, which reads in part: “Pattern  of structured  payments of $10,000.00 each in 2012. For example, a total of $630,000.00 was credited to the accounts using this pattern.

”Similarly structured payments of $10,000.00 amounting to $297,800.00, $50,000.00 and $36,000.00 were deposited in the account in 2013, 2015 and 2016 respectively.

“There was also a credit of $121,116.00 into the account from  2014 to 2016 from Life Friend Plc. The payments were in four installments, of $30,279.00 each. These payments suggest the suspect has investments.

“ A payment at $482,966.00 from Alicia Redemption Pro and shortly after, $800,000.00 was invested in SCB Investment subscription. We are in the process of verifying these transactions;

“Other suspicious transactions in the account are credit of $19,764.00 from Pur of Noble and seven (7) payments of $3,250.00, each amounting to $22,750.00 from Lloyds TSB.

On the pound sterling (GBP), the investigative team discovered “a self- transfer of £40,268.40 into the

account on May 31 2016.”

“There were also self-deposits by the suspect of £49,760.00 from July 2015 to September, 2016

but  the balance as at September 30, 2016 was £108,348.00,” the report added.

Regarding the Naira account, the report said: “The following highlights some of the suspicious activities in the account: A transfer of N41,262.000.00 ($260,000) was made from the dollar account. The money was used to make payment of N41million to Ad hoc Committee on the Sale of Federal Government Houses, suggesting that he bought a property with proceeds of the transfer;

“The only other significant transactions in the accounts are six (6) structured cash payments of N500,000.00 each and one payment of N700,000.00 amounting to N3.7mlllion from November, 2013 to August, 2016.

All the transactions, sources said, are being investigated whether or not they violated the “Revised Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria” which was put in place by the National Judicial Council.

Sections 7 and 13(4and5) of the Code of Conduct deal with financial interests.

Section  7 reads: “7.1 A Judge shall inform himself or herself about his or her personal and fiduciary financial interests and shall make reasonable efforts to be informed about the financial interests of members of the Judge’s family in respect of matters for adjudication before him.

“7.2 If it appears in respect of a matter before him or her, that the Judge, or a member of the Judge’s family or other person in respect of which the Judge is in a fiduciary relationship, is likely to benefit financially, the Judge has no alternative but to withdraw from the case.

“7.3 For the purpose of this rule, “Financial interest” includes ownership of a legal or equitable interest, however small, or a relationship as director, advisor, or other active participants in the affairs of an institution or organization. The following are not to be regarded as financial interests:

The proprietary interest of a policy holder in a mutual insurance company, unless the outcome of any proceeding could substantially affect the value of the interest.

Ownership of government securities unless if the outcome of any proceeding could substantially affect the value of the security.

“For the purpose of the Rules contained in this Code –

(a) “fiduciary” includes such relationships as executor, administrator, trustee and guardian;

(b) “financial interest” means ownership in a substantial manner of a legal or equitable interest, or a relationship as director, adviser or other active participation in the affairs of a party except that:

(i) ownership in a mutual or common investment fund which holds securities, unless the Judicial Officer participates in the management of the fund;

(ii) an officer in an educational, religious, charitable or civil organization is not a “financial interest” in securities held by the organization;

(iii) the proprietary interest of a policy holder in a mutual savings’ society or similar proprietary interest, is a “financial interest” in the organization only if the outcome of the proceedings could substantially affect the value of the interest; and

(iv) ownership of government securities is a “financial interest” in the issues only if the outcome of the proceedings could substantially affect the value of the securities.”

Section 13.4 and 5 deal with Business and Financial Activities of judges.

Section 13. 4 says: (i) A Judicial Officer may own investments and real property PROVIDED that in the management of his investments, he shall not serve as an officer, director, manager, general partner, adviser or employee of any business entity.

(ii) Otherwise permissible investment or business activities are prohibited if they:

(a) Tend to reflect adversely on judicial impartiality,

(b) Interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties,

(c) Exploit the judicial position; or

(d) Involve the Judicial Officer in frequent transactions with legal practitioners or with people likely to come before the Judicial Officer’s court.

13.5 Acceptance of Gifts

A Judicial Officer and members of his family shall neither ask for nor accept any gift, bequest, favour or loan on account of anything done or omitted to be done by him in the discharge of his duties.

A Judicial Officer is, however, permitted to accept:

(i) Personal gifts or benefits from relatives or personal friends to such extent and on such occasions as are recognized by custom.

(ii) Books supplied by publishers on a complimentary basis.

(iii) A loan from lending institution in its regular course of business on the same terms generally available to people who are not Judicial Officers;

(iv) A scholarship or fellowship awarded on the same terms applied to other applicants.”6

The Nation