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Mojec, Protogy deny diverting mass metering funds

By m Geoff Iyatse (Lagos) and Kingsley Jeremiah (Abuja) 
27 July 2022   |   2:56 am
Mojec International Limited and Protogy Global Services Limited, yesterday, said the accusation of diversion of funds meant for the metering scheme are baseless.

Mojec staff installing company meter

Mojec International Limited and Protogy Global Services Limited, yesterday, said the accusation of diversion of funds meant for the metering scheme is baseless.

  
An online platform had reported that the apex bank is seeking a court injunction to freeze 157 accounts of Meter Asset Providers (MAPs) for allegedly diverting funds meant for prepaid meter procurement.
  
In a suit filed at the Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja, Kogi State, on July 20, CBN is requesting commercial banks to restrict the account of 10 companies that received power sector intervention funds under the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) for 180 days pending the outcome of its investigation.
  
The affected companies are Mojec, Integrated Power Nigeria Limited, Holley Metering Limited and Protogy Global Services Limited. Others are Turbo Energy Limited, G Unit Engineering Limited, Koby Global Engineering Services Limited, FLT Energy Systems Limited, Smart Meters Asset Provider Company Limited and Cresthill Engineering Limited.
   
But the Managing Director of Mojec, Chantelle Abdul, said the action amounted to defamation of character, adding that the company would drag the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to court over the matter.
    
She claimed that payment for the metering scheme was performance-based, adding that the bank only paid for what the company delivered. 
  
Abdul said the company, despite the harsh operating environment in the country, had been making efforts in sourcing finance to help bridge the metering gap. 
   
“This is complete defamation of our company. Before NNMMP showed up, we had been metering Nigerians. We have been borrowing money from the banks to help the Nigerian power sector collect revenue through metering. 
   
“I cannot be stealing from myself. Nothing of such happened and this is not the right way to pay us for the efforts we have been putting into the business. We are ready and we will sue for defamation. Our records are out there.”
   
Managing Director of Protogy, Ademola Agoro, provided documents that detailed the numbers of meters supplied across distribution companies and payments expected from the supplied meters. He said the accusations by CBN “is completely wrong”.
   
Special Adviser to the President on Infrastructure, Ahmad Zakari in response to some tweets over NMMP, said: “NMMP meters are tagged and tracked differently so it is difficult to sell them.” 
  
He added: “We have run out of NMMP meters and there is high demand so people are buying MAP before the commencement of the next phase.” 

In its application, the CBN argued: “The Central Bank of Nigeria reviewed the activities of twelve (12) including the defendants herein Meter Asset Providers (MAPs) alleged to have diverted the Central Bank of Nigeria’s power sector intervention funds under the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP).
   
“The review was aimed at ascertaining the flow of the funds made available to the MAPs, covering the period between January 1, 2020, and March 15, 2022. The preliminary review revealed that the defendants diverted a substantial portion of the funds for other uses through related entities and individuals/companies connected to the electricity distribution companies (DisCos) and the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
  
“The diversion of the power sector intervention funds under the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) provided by the applicant’s banks, has further occasioned grave instability in the power sector and sustained the estimated billing regime which the federal government is making frantic efforts to make a thing of the past.

  
“The diversion of the said funds through the bank accounts of the defendants has continually undermined the applicant’s bank intervention system of supporting various sectors of the Nigerian economy.
  
“The diversion of the said funds and sustained instability in the power sector is capable of causing significant economic and financial loss to investors, as well as the entire systems and the Nigerian economy in general, if not curtailed.”
    
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) introduced the MAP regulation in 2018 to new investors to fast-track the rollout of meters through the engagement of third-party investors. The DisCos were expected to engage the services of the MAPs within 120 days from the effective date to achieve a three-year metering target prescribed by NERC.