A former director of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has written to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo alleging that the Director General of the agency is engaged in massive fraud and fraudulent practices.
In a letter to the Vice President dated November 2, 2015, Ibrahim Muhammad Kashim, who retired as a Director in June 2015 complained about the non payment of his terminal benefits which he said has been converted by the Director General of the Agency, Benjamin Dikki.
He said the DG diverted his terminal benefits to pay management staff entertainment allowances.
He also alleged that the BPE DG paid a N27bn premium for a non-existent insurance cover for the staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
He added that a phantom N1.5bn contract was awarded to a “prominent PDP lawyer” to wind up PHCN even when there was no work for the lawyer to do.
“As lawyers we reckoned that it was unthinkable, more so as ALL the assets of PHCN had been transferred through a presidential order to the Discos and Gencos, while ALL the liabilities were to be handled by Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company (NEMLCO). PHCN is therefore a shell company,” he said.
THE FULL TEXT OF KASHIM’S LETTER COMPLAINT AGAINST MR. BENJAMIN E. DIKKI, DIRECTOR GENERAL.BUREAU OF PUBLIC ENTERPRISES (BPE) OVER NON PAYMENT OF MY TERMINAL BENEFITS, CRIMINAL CONVERSATION OF SAME, AN CONTINIOUS FRAUD AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT
Preamble This petition seeks to apprise His Excellency on the injustice the Director General (DG) of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has been perpetrating against me. It will also bring to light the criminal action of the DG and his henchmen in converting my terminal benefits, approved by the National Council on Privatization (NCP) into Management Staff recurrent overhead Entertainment Allowance in collusion with some staff of the Ministry of Finance. Finally it is hoped that His Excellency will, having established the veracity of this petition ensure that justice is done.
Your Excellency, I joined the then Technical Committee on Privatization and Commercialization (TCPC) which later became the Bureau of Public Enterprises as a Senior Executive Officer (Legal) in 1992. Letter of appointment is hereby attached as appendix I. I rose to become a Director in 2007 and retired on 1st 2015 after having served as a Director for eight (8) years. Letter of retirement from service is hereby attached as appendix II
NCP at its meeting of Thursday June 9th2014 approved a series of amendments to the BPE Staff Conditions of Service upon the recommendation of its Finance Committee headed by the then Minister of Finance. This was as a result of years of agitation by staff seeking better terms of engagement. I had the privilege of Chairing the in-house committee that made all the presentations and met severally with the then Minister of Finance and officials from the Finance Minister. Copy of the minutes of NCP meeting of June 9th 2014 is hereby attached as appendix III.
One of the items approved by the NCP was Terminal Benefits for exiting staff. It was to take effect from 2015. For that purpose NCP approved for inclusion into 2015 national budget the sum of N455,266,618:23. The staff due to retire in 2015 are;
1.Ibrahim Muhammad Kashim (Director)
Hajiya Fati Abubakar (Director)
3.Afolabi Mathew (Deputy Director)
I led the team that met severally with Budget officers in Ministry of Finance and Salaries and Wages Commission. We got all necessary approvals.
Your Excellency, shortly before my retirement date, as is the practice, the Human Resources unit initiated an internal memo seeking the DGs approval to direct accounts unit to pay me my entitlements. Sadly the DG minuted that it was not accommodated in the 2015 budget. He maintained his position ever since. The internal Memo from the Human Resources Unit is hereby attached as appendix IV.
I wrote severally and later through my counsel to no avail. Then we went to court to protect my interest. Sadly the DG rather than pay me in line with VARIOUS management committee directives, engaged the services of SAN, who was the last Chairman of the NCP Legal Committee, using public funds to file a ridiculous defense that I was NOT a BPE staff that I was employed by TCPC, a position unfortunately laughable in logic and law. The court papers are hereby attached as appendix V. But it suits the DGs game plan very well. He tried through his henchmen to invite me to negotiate with him and I refused. Your Excellency the DG BPE fears that if he pays me I will be free to expose lots of the shady criminal payments he undertook and his connection to a political party for which he used government resource’s to facilitate. I will explain later.
Your Excellency the NCP approved the payment of my terminal benefits and got funding for the 3 retiring staff included in 2015 budget.The DG BPE and his henchmen in the organization got some officials of the Federal Minister of Finance to change it as recurrent overhead allowance to be used to pay Management Staff as entertainment allowance. Your Excellency the implication of this are two-fold.
The amount approved by the NCP as terminal a benefit was meant ONLY for 3 of us retiring in 2015. If meant that BPE should in 2015 seek NCP approval for staff retiring in 2016. (As a matter of fact there will be only one retiring staff in 2016). The DG by these acts has wrongly converted our terminal benefits to pay management staff entertainment allowances. This he did to calm the restiveness of the mgt staff as he had completely spent the internally generated revenue on his weekly trips to Zuru in Kebbi state to campaign for the political party (in deed he even bought a pilot vehicle fitted with a siren to facilitate the trips)
The second implication Your Excellency, is that by changing what should be only a component of 2015 budget making it perpetual annual budgetary allocation to the BPE, the DG willingly intends to defraud government by getting year in year out what was meant to be for only 2015. This is because instead of seeking NCP’s approval on annual basis for the required amount to be budgeted, bearing in mind some years nobody would be eligible for retirement; the DG has ensured that the sum of N455,266,618;23 would each year be paid to BPE illegally from budget as staff overhead.
This came to light before my retirement and I vehemently opposed it and stated the facts as approved by NCP. The minutes of management committee meetings for the whole month of April 2015 captured my position. (I chaired more than 70% of all our meetings as the DG was always away on campaign and hardly on seat for Monday meetings.
Your Excellency, the pertinent question that comes to mind is in the light of all these facts- why would the DG of BPE or indeed anyone fail and or refuse to pay my terminal benefit after serving the organization for over 22years? To answer we must first re-state that the DG ordered the illegal conversation of the terminal benefits of 3 staff retiring in 2015 to Management Staff Entertainment Allowance. And he also ordered the illegal annual budgetary allocation of the amount as recurrent overhead. We should also mention that the same DG for over two years has utilized government resources for a political party. The only conclusion therefore is of a person who is power drunk and believes to be untouchable. In relation to my case however it goes more than the above mentioned. I will treat them ad seriatim.
Engagement of a Lawyer to wind-up PHCN.
Your excellency, the former DG Miss Bolanle Onagoruwa was removed partly because she refused to accept the appointment of a prominent PDP lawyer to wind up PHCN for an amount exceeding N1.5bn. ( When the proposal was sent to her, I was one of the Directors she confided in. As lawyers we reckoned that it was unthinkable, more so as ALL the assets of PHCN had been transferred through a presidential order to the Discos and Gencos, while ALL the liabilities were to be handled by Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company ( NEMLCO). PHCN is therefore a shell company. Immediately after her removal the current DG established a Committee that awarded the assignment to the preferred law firm. I publicly expressed my disagreement. The DG sent for me and solicited for my support as it was from our Bosses. I maintained my position, as a result of which the matter was NEVER tabled at, or brought to the management committee for deliberation and approval before going to NCP.
Payment of Insurances premium of PHCN disengaged staff.
The DG one day invited me to his office. He informed me of a memo that would be sent to Management Committee for its consideration and approval. He suggested that we should pass it, since I was the one that usually chaired such meetings. It was to approve for transmission to the chairman of NCP the payment of N27,188,232,208:20billion as premium to Great Nigeria Insurance Plc for group life and group personal accident insurance for PHCN staff. I told him it cannot pass for even a law 101student knows the cliche “No premium No cover”. And in any case at that time PHCN had no staff. However I learnt later that the same paper came to BPE with all the necessary approvals and I believe the money was paid.
The DG also sought my cooperation to approve some payments to be made ostensibly as refunds to Ministry of Power for expenses incurred in the course of PHCN privatization. I advised against it because we all knew it was the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that funded the exercise. In any case Ministry of Power is overseeing PHCN. Later the paper came into BPE approved for payment by our Bosses.
Your excellency I went to the length to establish categorically that the DG BPEs refusal to pay me and his engaging the then chairman of the NCP legal committee using public funds, to claim that I was NOT a BPE staff, were all geared towards ensuring that I remain at his mercy and therefore dare not expose that all the payments that were made were actually at the behest of the DG BPE and that none ever was presented to the management committee for consideration. They were all unilateral actions of the DG using his office to obtain approval from above.
Your Excellency to debunk any claim that he acted based on orders from above, he actually solicited my cooperation in all cases, so they all originated from BPE. It was when I refused that it was converted to orders from above (let me restate that I was the person chairing the management committee meetings.) the minutes are there to prove my assertion.
Your Excellency even if any orders came from above, BPE as the secretariat of NCP had always, advised government on what the BPE believed to be just, proper and legal. I had the privilege of serving as the secretary of the committee set up by government to look into the contract of power purchase entered between ENRON and NEPA. It was BPEs objection that led to the establishment of the committee. There are many of such instances. Even under the current DG, BPE objected to the approval granted to the Department of State Security (DSS) to take over the Lagos and Abuja NITEL exchanges. Later the matter was resolved as suggested by BPE.
It would be interesting to ask the DG to show evidence that BPE under him had objected to any of the so called approvals from above for payment and had advised government accordingly.
Your Excellency, I have no doubt in my mind that the steps taken by the DG BPE in not paying me my terminal benefits and trying to pursue an unnecessary protracted legal battle is meant to ensure my silence whenever government decides to investigate him.
I humbly call on your Excellency to cause this matter to be thoroughly and speedily investigated and resolved so that I can be paid my terminal benefits which I have been denied for six (6) months since my retirement with untold hardship to my family.
Thank you, Your Excellency and God bless.
Ibrahim Muhammad Kashim
(EX- DIRECTOR BPE)