N6bn Illegal Loan: NERC Insists IBEDC MGT, Board Remain Suspended
…DisCo gets court injunction to continue
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) still insists that the board and management of the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) remain suspended for giving an unauthorised loan of N6 billion to its core investor, Daily Trust exclusively reports.
Industry sources yesterday said NERC refused to cancel the suspension order as requested by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).
Ibadan DisCo got a court injunction on maintaining the status quo.
The development of seeking injunction against NERC did not augur well with the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, it was gathered. At a briefing last Monday, Fashola alluded to that, saying DisCos go to court to seek injunction against a regulator that was performing its statutory function and that as a matter of principle, the courts should not honour such.
“We are all aware that recently, NERC revealed the unauthorised use of money by Ibadan DisCo and has taken some regulatory measures,” Fashola reacted.
Ibadan DisCo drew over N10bn from the N213bn loan twice under the Nigeria Electricity Market Stabilisation Funds (NEMSF). It then gave N6bn to its core investor, Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing Group (IEDMG) Ltd, contrary to extant market rules in the Nigerian Electricity Market (NEM).
IEDMG was also the core investor in Yola Electricity Distribution Company (YEDC) but declared a force majeure in 2015 and returned the control of the DisCo to BPE.
But a power sector source privy to NERC’s latest decision after the injunction said, “The management remains suspended. They ran to court and got an injunction that the status quo remains. They are now interpreting it to mean that they have not been suspended but what the status quo means to NERC is that it will stop the process of withdrawing the DisCo’s licence but they remain suspended while we consider the option of withdrawing their licence.”
For a seamless operation of the DisCo, while the officials remain on suspension, the official said, “After the suspension, within 21 days, they are supposed to constitute a new management and present it to NERC for approval but they have not done that.”
Court issued injunction, stay action till October – DisCo
Speaking to Daily Trust on telephone, yesterday, the Deputy Managing Director of Ibadan DisCo, Engr. John Ayodele, confirmed that they went to court challenging NERC, “and an injunction given that status quo should remain the same till October 2018 when the judge will hear it on accelerated hearing.”
On whether the management was still operating, he said, “They (court) didn’t say we should close down, they said the status quo remains the same. As far as we are concerned, they said we should continue.”