Home Breaking News Geometric Power: The Facts Speak for Themselves Regarding Investment of $3.5m...

Geometric Power: The Facts Speak for Themselves Regarding Investment of $3.5m by the Ikpeazu Administration 

My attention has been drawn to a statement credited to Governor Alex Otti, through his spokesperson, that his government has received a letter from Prof Barth Nnaji, Chairman/CEO of Geometric Power that the administration of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu paid at least $3.56m to purchase stakes in the company for the people of Abia State.

I have also privately sighted the letter written by Prof Barth Nnaji to Governor Alex Otti on the 28th of February 2024 wherein he confirmed that the previous Abia State Government led by Dr Okezie Ikpeazu bought 3.5% equity in Geometric Power.

While the government of Alex Otti is free to rigmarole to minimize the damage to its battered lying machinery, it must be noted that the government brought this public odium upon itself.

Prof Nnaji organized a press conference where a journalist asked him if the immediate past administration in Abia State invested money in the Aba IPP for the purchase of a 5% stake and he responded that “nobody gave us any dollar”. Armed with information from my stint as a Commissioner for Information, Trade, and Investment under Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, I promptly challenged him on the ground that his company received at least $3.56m which I have evidence of him personally acknowledging. On that basis, I pleaded with the Otti administration to investigate and recover that money for the people of Abia State.

Sadly, Governor Otti preferred to dispatch his commissioners and media aides to organize several media appearances wherein they defended Geometric and falsely claimed that we did not give them information on the transaction, a line that Governor Otti himself trumpeted during an interview with Channels Television on Thursday night.

For the avoidance of doubt, the transaction was recorded in the handover note given to Governor Alex Otti on the 29th of May 2023. Furthermore, the same transaction was published in our 2022 budget performance statement and handed over to the Otti administration with details of budgetary approval. It is therefore laughable for Otti’s government to claim that we should have dropped specific documents at their feet because of the importance of the transaction. That’s the highest level of public display of public sector management ignorance.

If the Otti administration did not read the handover note, as it has become obvious that they did not do, how on earth would they have known what was done and where to find the details?

Imagine Governor Alex Otti saying through his spokesperson that Prof Barth Nnaji wrote to him and said he thought that he had the document containing these details given to him by the previous administration. The same Prof Nnaji that said “Nobody gave me any money” and then the same Governor Otti who received a handing over note he refused to read.

For public clarity, once an item is listed in a formal report like the handover note or financial report, all the Governor needs to do is ask for details from the relevant ministries, in this case, the Ministry of Finance, to track up relevant details and documents.

From the moment a citizen published that entry from the state’s official financial report, all the government of Otti needed to do was cross-check the codes and relevant ministries to find documents associated with the transactions.

Mr Governor Sir, nobody will give you every relevant document to events of 8 years but the handing over note is deliberately arranged ministry by ministry so you can dig up details from the files present in each ministry, in case you need further information. That is how government reporting is done, not through skit-making.

Did Former Governor Ikpeazu hand over to you the source documents on the $50m RAAMP and $115m AfDB facility he left for you to do over 500 rural roads in Abia State? How did you get the documents you presented to Abuja to claim the money?

According to Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, “those who live by propaganda die by propaganda” but I pray that nobody will die in Abia.

Similarly, if a government decides to procure shares of $5m in a project, paid $3.56m representing more than 70% but couldn’t pay the rest because of paucity of funds or competing needs, the seller has the right to allocate shares equivalent to what was paid or refund the money received. The Otti administration should have known this and simply gone for the refund of the money for use in procuring power transformers for our people instead of committing serial blunders in the bid to demonize Dr. Ikpeazu and/or steal the money. Otherwise, they should accept the 3.5% equity already confirmed by Prof Nnaji which has a current value of $28m based on the valuation of the project.

As of the time Governor Alex Otti showed up at Channels Television he already had a formal letter from Prof Barth Nnaji of Geometric Power informing him that Abia State Government under Okezie Ikpeazu paid for 3.5% shares in the project, yet, because acknowledging such on national television does not fit into his wicked agenda of demonizing the Ikpeazu administration, he chose to mislead the public and lie to the nation that he had not seen any document hence would set up a team to review the situation.

I hereby challenge Governor Otti to publish that letter he received on Wednesday, 28th February 2024 for the whole world to see that he was not forthright in his presentation at Channels TV on the 29th of February, and indeed, lied and misrepresented facts all through.

Sadly, the Otti administration would rather blame and demonize former Governor Ikpeazu than do the least altruistic thing to defend the interest of the people of Abia State. Instead of doing something as little as reading the handover note or revisiting the financial statement handed over to them, they would rather pay skit makers and sundry propagandists to misrepresent facts and lie about what they have not done.

I make bold to state that of all those who governed Abia State from 1999 to date, Dr. Alex Otti made the least contribution to the realization of the Aba IPP as Governor. He might have supported a loan to the company as a private banker seeking profit for his employers, but as Governor, he did absolutely nothing, yet, he wants to claim credit belonging to others who actively worked hard for the project.

It beats me personally how a man I used to respect like Prof Barth Nnaji allowed himself to fall victim to the hate politics of Governor Alex Otti thereby making a mess of an otherwise glorious service career. I hope others being used by Governor Otti and his likes will learn much from this blunder by our beloved Prof Nnaji to always stand behind and with the truth no matter whose ox is gored.

Otti’s inordinate quest for glory hunting should never again cause us to question the integrity of otherwise well-respected men and women like Prof Barth Nnaji who have contributed immensely to the growth and development of our sub-region in particular and the nation as a whole.

Meanwhile, I still would like to insist that an independent probe be instituted with the former finance managers under Ikpeazu included alongside an independent-minded person like Rufai Oseni of Arise TV to review the equity issue even though Otti’s government has now admitted receiving the confirmatory communication from Geometric.

For the government to intimidate and publicly humiliate Prof Barth Nnaji the way it did during the commissioning ceremony on Monday and later rush out to defend him when he lied about the money paid to his company speaks of a cover-up and an attempt to steal $3.56m belonging to the people of Abia State.

Thank you.

Chief John Okiyi Kalu
Former Commissioner for Information; Trade & Investment in Abia State

*Attached: Picture evidence of delivery of handing over note to Otti’s representative and extract from published 2022 financial report of Abia State

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