President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the removal of Marilyn Amobi as the managing director of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc, days after PREMIUM TIMES reported her continued violation of Nigeria’s code of conducts for public officials.
The Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman, announced the removal of the controversial official on Monday evening.
The minister, in a press statement, said the removal was approved by President Buhari, and further announced the company’s General Counsel and Secretary, Nnaemeka Eweluka, as the new substantive boss of NBET “with immediate effect.”
PREMIUM TIMES had on June 10 (five days ago) exposed how Ms Amobi continued to run a private firm, ESL Economics and Management Limited, registered in the United Kingdom, while being a public officer in Nigeria in violation of the country’s code of conduct rule for public officials.
She also continued to run a foreign account in violation of Nigeria’s law.
Top administration officials said our report angered President Buhari who immediately ordered her removal.
MORE TO COME…
Below is our June 10 story in full.
The Managing Director of Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company, Marilyn Amobi, has continued to run and direct her private company in the United Kingdom, in what is clearly a contravention of Nigeria’s code of conduct for public officers, PREMIUM TIMES can report.
ESL Economics and Management Associates Limited, with company number, 06413894, was incorporated in the UK in 2007. Ms Amobi controls 100 per cent of its shares, according to the Companies House in London.
Ms Amobi is the sole director of the company and filings available at the Companies House show she has always managed the company.
A whistle-blower first alerted PREMIUM TIMES to Ms Amobi’s continued running of the UK-based company as well as a version of it in Nigeria. PREMIUM TIMES checks, as well as an interview with a representative of Ms Amobi, confirmed the whistle-blower’s claim.
Against the law
Nigeria’s constitution prescribes code of conduct for public officers, including those in publicly-controlled companies, such as NBET.
The code of conducts stipulates that public officers shall not “engage or participate in the management or running of any private business except it is farming.”
By implication, when one takes public office in Nigeria, they are expected to formally resign from the management or directorship of a private company in which they are involved even if such belongs to them.
NBET is a wholly-owned Nigerian government company incorporated in 2010 in line with the Electric Power Sector Act, 2005.
In the power industry, it is the “manager and administrator of the electricity pool.” It has been covering the market shortfall using public funds to shore up the revenue of the GenCos to prevent the collapse of the system. In 2018, N701 billion was released for this purpose from the CBN for the 2017-2019 period.
Available records show Ms Amobi still holds active participation in the running of the ESL, registered both in the UK and Nigeria.
Several management and accounting filings accessed by PREMIUM TIMES show she is the sole signatory for the company in the UK. Two of such filings were as recent as October and November 2019, years after her appointment to head NBET.
This means Ms Amobi also controls a foreign account, another breach of Nigeria’s law on conduct for public officers.
Ms Amobi was appointed NBET boss in 2016 and re-appointed this May by President Muhammadu Buhari
Nigerian records of ESL seen by PREMIUM TIMES indicate that Ms Amobi remains a director of the company in Nigeria, which she registered alongside a family member, Ifeoma Amobi, in 2012.
A representative, whom Ms Amobi asked to speak with PREMIUM TIMES following our text to her, said the “company has not been working,” but did not deny NBET’s boss active management. The representative asked not to be named.
The whistle-blower who contacted PREMIUM TIMES accused Ms Amobi of money laundering. PREMIUM TIMES cannot verify this claim immediately.
Ms Amobi’s representative said, “the company is not to steal money.”
The representative also said Ms Amobi declared ESL in her assets and liabilities declaration filings. PREMIUM TIMES cannot immediately verify this.
By law, Ms Amobi’s action means she risks removal from office, or ban from holding public office for 10 years or forfeiture of any asset she might have acquired in the course of such illegal businesses.
Any of these punishments may be imposed by the Code of Conduct Tribunal if she is investigated, tried and found guilty.