EKEDC: In-fighting continues as Board, Chairman again issue contrary directives

The in-fighting in Eko Electricity Distribution Company continued on Thursday as the Board of the company and the Chairman, Dare Otubu, again issued contrary directives on who seats on the chair of the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.

While the Board said Dr. Tinuade Sanda is MD/CEO, the Chairman said Rekhiat Momoh occupies it in acting capacity.

The Board spoke in a statement by the Director and Chairman Legal and Regulatory Committee, Babor Egeregor, while Otubu personally signed the statement he issued.

Egeregor, who quoted a letter by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, said: “We hereby inform the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) stakeholders and the general public that by a letter dated 27th of March 2024, NERC has clarified its directive which was earlier misapprehended and misconceived and, on which basis the MD/CEO Dr. Tinuade Sanda and other Management Staff were purportedly recalled to the parent company, WPG Limited.

“According to NERC, ‘The Commission has noted the strong public interest generated by the current event at EKEDP and the various interpretations of the resolutions conveyed vide the said letter, particularly, with respect to paragraphs (4b) and 4(c). We therefore hereby provide further clarifications as follows:

1. Paragraph 4b- All staff of EKEDP, irrespective of their form of engagement, will be subject to the Conditions of Service of EKEDP. The Commission deemed it necessary to pass this resolution based on the submission of EKEDP, at the meeting of 20 March 2024, that *the Condition of Service (“CoS”) of EKEDP was not applicable to Seconded personnel from third-party providers

2. Paragraph 4c – The EKEDP Board is expected to conclude its review of its investigation into the allegation of Ghost workers to identify all personnel involved in causing the loss of revenues to EKEDP no later than 27th March 2024. In a case where the indicted parties are seconded from third-party providers and since they are reportedly NOT subject to the EKEDP CoS, they are to be recalled to their parent companies to avoid the risk of further losses to EKEDP.’

We appreciate the proactive action of the Commission and the clarifications, which unambiguously mean that:

(A) all contracts of employment of anyone working for EKEDP, whether of WPG, EKEDP, or otherwise, must be subject to and regulated by the Condition of Service of EKEDP.

(B) The legal fulcrum and basis for the purported recall of the seconded staff have been vitiated and are now non-existent since the basis of the recall of the seconded staff was the initial misinterpretation of the previous NERC Resolution/Orders

(C)  The express recall and termination of the contract of employment of staffers/employees whose actions led to a loss of revenue to EKEDP. The staff, namely:

“Wola Joseph-Condotti, Sheri Adegbenro, and Aik Alenkhe – who had been subjected to Disciplinary Committee proceedings, the outcome of which has been contested by some Board members, including the Federal Government representative, the Bureau of Public Enterprise.

“Consequently, the seconded Management staff of WPG Limited, whose recalls were done in ‘error’ are hereby mandated and required to return to their respective duties and offices EXCEPT those named above, already identified and subjected to Disciplinary Committee proceedings over the allegations of fraud and negligent actions through ghost workers and exited staff, which occasioned financial losses to the Company.

“We shall be providing full cooperation with the officers of the Nigerian Police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the leadership of the Nigerian Body of Benchers, and relevant members of the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee for further actions for closure on the alleged fraud.

“We once again thank the Regulator for providing this clarification, the NESI stakeholders and general public for their kind concerns, and the Staff of EKEDP and WPG Limited for their patience through all of this.

“Therefore, all initial orders or actions taken erroneously are hereby immediately reversed.”

But Otubu said the position of the Board is wrong.

He said in a letter he addressed to Momoh, who he referred to as “our Acting CEO” and other members of Staff: “Following my earlier message to you in respect of the above, it has become necessary to send out this message in view of the misinformation being disseminated to the public.   

“Kindly note that nothing has changed since the last message to you. No staff of WPG has been returned to Eko Disco. NERC has not nullified any of the actions taken by the Board of Eko Disco. 

“All staff in acting roles following the withdrawal of WPG secondees including our Acting CEO Mrs Rekhiat Momoh are to continue doing their work.

“For greater clarity, the reason for the withdrawal of the WPG seconded staff is to allow for the process of employment of any qualified staff directly in Eko Disco. The decision of the board is that all staff members of Eko Disco will have the same conditions of service and be under the same payroll structure. 

“There’ll therefore be the harmonisation of the salary structure so that there will be no further earnings dichotomy. This process is still ongoing and you will be informed when it is completed. 

“Kindly continue to do your work without any concern or hindrance as what is being planted in the papers is only intended to cause mischief. 

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“The Board of Directors of Eko Disco remains the highest organ of governance of the Disco. Therefore, only statements from the Chairman acting on behalf of the Board should be countenanced. 

“We have great confidence in all of you to perform your roles effectively and take the company to greater heights. 

“We therefore urge everyone to keep doing their duties diligently.”

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