Says Letters of Credit given not used to procure aircraft for Arik Air
By Lawani Mikairu
Rockson Engineering Nigeria Limited, REN, weekend said that the delay in the completion of some of the power projects it handled in Nigeria was due to the failure of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria ,PHCN, and later the Niger Delta Power Holding Company,NDPHC, to abide by their contract obligations.
This is just as the company said that Letters of Credit given in respect of power plant contracts in Nigeria, were not used to procure aircrafts for Arik Air Limited or any other airline.
Rockson is among companies participating in the execution of power projects in Nigeria including the Alaoji, Egbema, Omoku, Gbarain, and Kaduna Power Projects, all sited in Abia, Imo, Rivers, Bayelsa, and Kaduna States respectively.
The company and its sister organisation, Rockson International Limited (RIL), UK are reacting to a publication in the media, alleging their complicity in the non-completion of these projects.
Through their legal representatives, Babajide Koku and Company, the two organisations explained that the delay in the payment for the completion of the projects by Niger Delta Power Holding Company and sudden takeover of REN by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) led to the stoppage of work on the ones not already completed.
They said the projects are all in advanced stages as they have all reached different levels of completion before the takeover.
It also indicted AMCON of frustrating its efforts to complete the Kaduna plant project by its takeover of REN.
Providing update on the projects, Rockson said the Gbarain Plant was up to 90 per cent complete while the Kaduna plant project has reached about 85 per cent completion as it had delivered critical equipment for the completion of the project.
It added that both the Egbema and the Omoku plants have reached about 71 per cent and 87 per cent complete respectively.
However, Rockson lamented that REN’s takeover by AMCON, has brought the Kaduna Power project to a standstill, as RIL’s personnel have no access to the Plant to perform their obligations under the contract.
The company however believed the Kaduna project could be fully completed and inaugurated by 2020 if the bottlenecks were resolved.
While disputing other claims as allegedly made in the publication, the letter further explained, ”First, RIL is not a subsidiary of REN and that REN is not a parent company of RIL as erroneously stated in the article. Secondly, Sir Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide is not the Chairman of RIL.
”In response to the allegation regarding procurement of aircrafts, our Clients wish to state that Letters of Credit given in respect of power plant contracts in Nigeria, were not used to procure aircrafts for Arik Air Limited or any other airline.
”Fifth, notwithstanding that REN has been investigated twice by EFCC, neither investigation resulted in any indictment.”
They further said that, “pursuing capital projects within Nigeria has not been without its challenges but Rockson is willing and able as ever before to work committedly to complete the outstanding aspects of any ongoing projects for the benefit of the country.”
”Sir Arumemi-Ikhide will be 71 years of age in a few weeks and has in recent years, struggled with age-related health challenges. He left Nigeria for the UK in July 2019 (before the EFCC’s invitation to him which was dated 17th September 2019), where shortly after, he commenced critical medical tests.
“Whilst his desire is to assist with any investigations that may be ongoing, he is currently unable to do so due to ill health. Once his doctors release him, he will be willing and available to return to Nigeria.
”Our Clients maintain that they were willing and committed to completing all the projects but were unable to do so due to scuttled efforts by NDPHC. Unfortunately, resolution attempts with the NDPHC have thus far been unsuccessful,” the letter said.
They also explained that at some stage in the years leading up to AMCON’s takeover of REN, the Alaoji Project was transferred from the PHCN to the NDPHC and the NDPHC executed the fourth Gas Turbine for the power plant that was negotiated by PHCN (a combined-cycle plant configured as two Gas Turbines to one Steam Turbine).
”It was at this point that phase two of the contract was negotiated and appropriate approvals including those from the BPP and the Federal Executive Council were obtained,” they said.