By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
CALABAR — Operatives of State Security Service in Cross River State, weekend, arrested a licensed contractor with Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, in Calabar over alleged attempt to defraud Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC of N200,000 as permission fee to facilitate the installation of a newly acquired transformer by the commission.
Meanwhile, Resident Electoral Commissioner in charge of Cross River State, Mr Mike Igini, has accused officials of PHCN of frustrating efforts of the Federal Government in ensuring regular power supply, alleging that PHCN officials over the years had been practicing corruption as their religion.
The licensed contractor by the Ministry of Power, a representative of Effanga Electrical Nigeria Limited, Chief E. E Akpanika, had, weekend, after collecting N200, 000 said to be fee for permission to install the transformer acquired by INEC after being in darkness for about two years was arrested by officers of SSS on the orders of the REC.
The state office of INEC in Calabar had for two years, been in blackout due to bad transformer and efforts made by the commission for PHCN officials to replace the transformer did not yield any fruit, instead according to Igini, PHCN had through its actions sabotaged efforts to have new transformer.
Igini, said even when INEC decided to purchase a new 200/33KVA transformer, PHCN allegedly gave the commission a quotation of N4 million and some of the contractors sent gave a bill of N2.2m for the installation.
The PHCN staff, who latter installed the transformer, which the commission purchased at N900,000 including expenses from Lagos, was allegedly harassed and haunted by some highly placed officials of PHCN.
Speaking to journalist shortly after the licensed electrical contractor was rounded up and taken away by men of SSS, Igini, said after personally procuring the transformer following outrageous quotations from registered PHCN contractors, installing the equipment became a major hurdle.