N8.9bn rural electrification: Contractors sue commission, ministry

A man walks past electricity pylons as he returns from work in Soweto, outside JohannesburgThe Association of Rural Electrification Contractors of Nigeria (ARECON) has dragged the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) and the Ministry of Finance to court over unpaid N 8.9 billion debt.

The association, in a statement of claim filed by Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George, SAN, at the Federal High Court Abuja, is praying for an order that the total sum owed by the defendants (ECN) be paid through the Law Office of Akinlolu Kehinde (SAN).

A breakdown of the N8.9 billion debt shows that ECN owed the contractors N380 million in 2009, N2.1 billion in 2011 and N6.3 billion in 2012. The plaintiffs stated that the defendants have no defence to the suit.

ARECON is also seeking for an injunction restraining ECN, its agents, servants and privies from awarding contracts already advertised in the federal tenders journal of 6 – 19th May 2013 or any contract whatsoever until the N8.9 billion debt was paid.

Those named as defendants are the ECN, the federal ministry of finance and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).

Alhaji Isa Badamasi, national chairman of ARECON, in a 26 paragraph statement in support of the suit, stated that the delay and refusal in the payment by the ECN has caused untold hardship and pains, including accumulation in bank interest for loans used in executing the projects, pressures from suppliers and accumulated staff salaries and allowances which have remained unpaid as a result of the defendant’s default.

The plaintiffs are – AMTESS Nigeria Ltd; Borno Engineering Supply technical Company Ltd and Durat Civic Nigeria Company Ltd and sueing for themselves and on behalf of other contractors who are members of the ARECON that were awarded contracts by the ECN.
When contacted over the weekend, spokesperson of ECN, Mrs. Stella Onwualu, said she was not aware of the development.


[Daily Trust]



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