…lawmakers to table motion for Amobi’s removal on Tuesday
By Soni Daniel – Northern Region Editor
President Muhammadu Buhari and members of the House of Representatives are set for a clash over his retention of the Managing Director of the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company, Dr. Marilyn Amobi, in the reconstituted board of the company.
The leadership and members of the House of Representatives Committee on Power are upset with Buhari for still expressing unflinching confidence in Amobi, a specialist on electricity markets and operations, and retaining her on NBET’s reconstituted board, which was announced by the Minister of Finance last week, despite their aversion to her person and continued occupation of that office.
The committee, according to documents, does not, however, have an oversight function over NBET, which is a limited liability company licensed under the Company Allied Matters, CAMA, and had since been transferred from the Ministry of Power to the Ministry of Finance, which currently supervises the strategic company.
The committee members, according to NASS sources, are unhappy with Buhari for not upholding the December 24, 2019 removal from office of Amobi by the Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman, but quickly reinstating her on January 9, 2020.
Buhari had apart from reinstating the NBET MD to her position, also removed NBET from the Ministry of Power and ceded it to Ministry of Finance, which is the biggest shareholder in the company, thereby stripping the ministry of power of the authority to oversight the company.
However, the Houses of Representatives Committee on Power has refused to hand off its stranglehold on NBET insisting that it has the power to supervise and direct the company, accusing the MD of incompetence, disrespect to its members and corruption even though no court in Nigeria has so far indicted her of any financial crime.
The house members base their decisions on allegations by a former head of audit in NBET, Sambo Abdullahi, that Amobi had been indicted by both the EFCC and ICPC and that she overstepped her bounds by posting him away from the audit unit to another department, insisting that only the board of the company can redeploy staff.
Based on the series of petitions by Sambo Abdullahi against Amobi, the Power Committee recently visited NBET and confronted Amobi on why she redeployed Abdullahi without the approval of the board but would not allow her to finish her brief when they slammed her for being ‘disrespectful’, ‘incompetent’ and corruption without providing any evidence of the alleged offences.
To force President Buhari’s hand to remove the NBET MD and CEO from office, the committee, according to document sighted by Vanguard, will on Tuesday charge her with “gross misconduct and insubordination’ and pass a resolution of the NASS for her removal from office.
A copy of the resolution with the title “Gross Misconduct and Insubordination of Ms. Marilyn Amobi, Managing Director of the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company” states, “The House notes that in line with the provisions of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Power is saddled with the responsibility of carrying out oversight on the Ministry of Power and its agencies, including the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET).
“Aware that the Committee on Power is in receipt of complaints and reports indicting the Managing Director of the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company and also aware that several anti-corruption agencies among which are the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation have earlier indicted the Managing Director, Ms Marilyn Amobi for corruption and mismanagement and despite the present Administrations fight against corruption, she still remains in office with attendant damages to the Agency and the Power Sector in general.
“The House recalls that during the oversight visit by the Committee on Power to the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company, Ms. Amobi exhibited complete disrespect and disregard for the Committee;
“The House, therefore, resolves to pass a Vote of No Confidence on the Managing Director of the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company, Ms. Marilyn Amobi for incompetence, gross misconduct and lack of respect for constituted authorities which she exhibited during the Committee’s oversight visit to the Agency.
“The House, therefore, mandates the Committees on Power, Financial Crimes and Anti-corruption to investigate the alleged indictment of Ms. Amobi by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and the office of the Auditor-General for the Federation and report back within two weeks for further legislative action,” the resolution, which is to be taken tomorrow, reads.
However, a Presidency source, which pleaded anonymity, claimed last night that the issues raised against the NBET CEO had been previously examined and found to be baseless, leading to their dismissal and recall of Amobi by the President.
The source said that while President Buhari is frontally opposed to any form of corrupt practice by his appointees, he would not also subject any public officer to undue punishment based on pure sentiments and unverified claims by aggrieved persons and agencies just to be seen as fighting graft.
Efforts to speak with the NBET MD, Amobi, proved abortive, as she neither picked our correspondent’s calls nor responded to a text message sent to her phone number.