Hopes for the Interstate Consortium to take the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company have dimmed further as its effort to raise funds from Africa Import –Export Bank has hit the rocks.
The funds, expected to be raised through Kaztek Engineering,may have been stopped because, among other reasons cited in an internal memo by the bank, Offor is a “politically exposed person”, a euphemism for its reluctance to provide credit to him and companies closely linked to him.
Though payments for 15 generation and distribution companies closed at 5pm on Wednesday, August 21, 2003, the consortium hopes to use its relationship with Vice President, who is chairman of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), to compel the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to provide an unprecedented 20-day extension.
Of all bidders for the 15 companies carved out of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN)which are being privatized, only Interstate could not make any payment at close of payments last week. The bid price for Enugu Disco is $126m, which the reserved bidder, Eastern Electric, says it is ready to pay promptly.
Interstate major promoter Emeka Offor, a government contractor and leading donor to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has been having serious liquidity challenges in the last two years following futile oil exploration and production activities in four oil wells in Sao Tome and Principe which caused a loss of over $400m.
It is reliably gathered that Offor’s attempt to raise capital through some of his directors like Howard Jetta, a former American ambassador to Nigeria, also failed, with some questioning the rationale for the businessman’s donation early this year of $1.3m to Rotary International for polio eradication.
We have also gathered on good authority that some of the Interstate consortium members from the Southeastern part of Nigeria have in the last 36 hours been making overtures to Eastern Electric, promoted by the five Southeast state governments; Dr Ernest Azudialu-Obiejesi, chairman of Nestoil and director of Julius Berger construction firm; NRECA of the United States which controls 10% of America’s 1m Megawatt grid and operates in such developing nations as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sudan; Aba Power Project and Geometric Power Ltd led by former Power Minister Bart Nnaji and Diamond Bank founding chairman Pascal Dozie.