THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has urged the Federal High Court in Lokoja, Kogi state, to freeze 157 accounts of Meter Asset Providers (MAPs) over alleged diverting funds meant for prepaid meters.
In its suit sighted by Vanguard, the bank requested commercial banks to restrict the account of 10 companies that received intervention funds under the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) for 180 days, pending the outcome of investigation.
The companies listed included, Mojec Meter Asset Management Company Limited, Integrated Power Nigeria Limited, Holley Metering Limited, Protogy Global Services Limited and 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.
The CBN stated: “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 to 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.”
It also stated: “An order of this Honourable Court is required urgently to empower the Applicant to direct the aforelisted banks to freeze the Defendants’ accounts, pending the outcome of the investigation by the Central Bank of Nigeria or referral of the same to the appropriate agency.
“To preserve the funds in the aforelisted accounts from being dissipated by the Defendants.
“An order of this Honourable court empowering the Applicants to direct the head offices of the afforelisted banks to freeze all transactions of the Defendants would also enable the Applicants to pursue its investigations unhindered.
“In furtherance of the Applicants statutory functions and powers. In the interest of justice and public policy would be best serve4d if this application is allowed and granted.
“The Honourable Court is imbued with the powers and discretion to make the order as sought.”