By Emma Ujah, Abuja
The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has refuted reports that it diverted N14 billion from the proceeds of the privatisation of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
According to a statement by the Head, Public Communications of the agency, Amina Othman, the funds generated from the privatisation exercise of the power sector was used to settle staff liabilities of PHCN.
BPE was reacting to media reports alleging the diversion of the N14 billion.
It said, “Truth of the matter is that BPE did not and has not diverted proceeds of the PHCN privatisation as all the proceeds were paid in to the Privatisation Proceed Account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“It must be noted that these proceeds were used to settle the severance benefits of staff of the defunct PHCN as agreed by the Federal Government and labour. If then, the funds were diverted, how could this feat have been achieved?”
The privatisation agency urged members of the public to disregard the said allegation against it and that it remained responsible in the discharge of its duties.
“We call on our various stakeholders and the general public to discountenance the smear reports against the BPE as we are prepared to at all times, as a responsible parastatal of the Federal Government, charged with reforms, privatisation, Concession and Commercialisation, to carry out our mandate responsibly and with integrity,” it said.
The Bureau said it would have ignored the reports but for the need to put the records straight before the public.
According to the organization, “Ordinarily, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) does not join issues with its stakeholders in any privatisation process, but we are constrained to put the records straight given the deliberate and constant disinformation on the proceeds from the privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) which was carried out in 2013.
“Much as we would not want to question the opinion of individuals/media on national issues nay our privatisation processes, we wish to reiterate that our processes are transparent and in accordance with international best practices.
“That is why the power sector privatisation in particular, undertaken by BPE has been commended by local players and the international community.”