Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Nation - EFCC busts $3.5b power project scam

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has foiled an attempt to swindle a US-based company, Sunergy Worldwide Incorporated of about $3.5billion over a non-existing power project in t

Also, the commission has launched a manhunt for the Managing Director of the Nigerian firm, Arvokad Resources Plc, Mr. Jonathan Dike, who was allegedly central to the scam.

Investigation by our correspondent showed that the MD and directors of Arvokad had sought partnership with the American firm to build a $7billion solar energy plant.

Based on bid documents with purported official endorsement of the project by the Ministry of Power and Energy, the American company accepted to fund the project.

But at the point of remitting its 50 per cent of the cost of the project, the bubble burst following discovery by the American firm that Arvokad was not involved in any IPP plant in Nigeria .

A top source in the anti-graft commission, who spoke in confidence, said: "The controversial Nigerian firm, Arvokad, is purportedly located at 138, Aba – Owerri Road in Abia State.

"According to preliminary findings by the EFCC, Arvokad sought a deal with the American company by claiming that it was acting on behalf of the Ministry of Power and Energy.  Arvokad sought for partnership with Sunergy and asked the American firm to submit a quotation of $7bilion for a solar energy power project for the Federal Government.

The US company did as directed and thereafter, it was informed that it has been short-listed as the favoured bidder by the Contract Award Committee of the Ministry of Power and Energy."

The source added, "As part of our discovery, officials of Arvokad impersonated a former Minister of Power, Nuhu Wya , by presenting documents claiming that the ex-Minister presided over the contract award committee," and asked the American firm to remit 50 per cent of the counterpart funding valued at $3.5 billion.

"But shortly before the remittance, the CEO of Sunergy Worldwide Incorporated, Yua Xu contacted the recently established EFCC's Transaction Clearing Platform (TCP) to verify the authenticity of the contract details. The TCP cautioned the American firm to withhold the remittance of the counterpart funds pending verification. And at the end of the day, it turned out to be a big scam and the affected foreign firm was communicated, and advised not to remit any money."

The source said the EFCC is already on the trail of the Managing Director of Arvokad, Jonathan Dike and any of its directors.  "We have launched a manhunt for all those with stakes in the company; we will certainly arrest them for necessary grilling, "the source said.

Contacted, the Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Femi Babafemi said: "We have bust the scam but investigation is in progress."

http://www.thenationonlineng. com

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