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Controversy trails purported sack of Sanda as Eko Disco MD

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The alleged sack of Dr. Tinuade Sanda as the Managing Director of Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC), is generating controversy.

Reports had emerged that Sanda was removed from her position in a letter signed by the company’s Chairman, Dere Otubu based on a directive from the industry regulator, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

“We have received a directive from NERC stating that all staff working for the utility must be employed directly by the utility, bound by applicable service conditions that are applicable to the employees of the utility, and paid through the utility’s payroll.

“The Disco is obligated to comply with these directives due to the powers of NERC as stipulated in the Electricity Act 2023. In compliance with the aforementioned directive, all seconded staff from WPG Ltd are being released by Eko Electricity Distribution Plc and returned to WPG Ltd.

“Accordingly, you are hereby relieved of your role, office, and position at Eko Electricity Distribution Plc effectively immediately, and returned to your employer, WPG Ltd”, the electricity firm had stated.

The company went on to announce the appointment of Reacting to this, Mr. Babor Egeregor, Director, Chairman Legal & Regulatory Committee, EKEDC described the report as “unambiguous, incapable of, and unyielding to plural interpretations”.

It stated that there was nowhere in the Order where NERC requested the removal of any staff either seconded to or hired by EKEDC EXCEPT those connected to the alleged fraud and negligence i.e., Wola Joseph Condotti, Sheri Adegbenro, and Aik Alenkhe.

“It has come to my notice that by a letter dated 26th of March 2024, the Chairman of Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC), Mr. Dere Otubu purportedly terminated the Contract of Employment of Dr. Tinuade Sanda, the MD/CEO of EKEDC, allegedly in compliance with Orders/Directives issued by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

“The said Order of the NERC, herein displayed, are unambiguous, incapable of, and unyielding to plural interpretations. There was nowhere in the Order where NERC requested the removal of any staff either seconded to or hired by EKEDC EXCEPT those connected to the alleged fraud and negligence i.e., Wola Joseph Condotti, Sheri Adegbenro, and Aik Alenkhe.

“In fact, NERC’s directives were issued to compel the Board of EKEDC, following picketing by the Union and unrelenting Staff protests, to act appropriately in the face of a determined position of a majority of the Board members to cover up the alleged use of ghost workers together with the alleged fraud and protect Wola Joseph Condotti especially.

“Mr. Dere Otubu’s letter, therefore, was done in bad faith and in vengeful revenge against the MD/CEO for escalating the alleged fraud and issuing queries against one of his protégés, whom he has desperately swore to protect by all means. As a matter of fact, the Ag DG of the BPE, representing the Government on the Board of EKEDC, vehemently rejected the attempt to cover up the alleged crime and insisted on compliance with the punishment prescribed in the Conditions of Service.

READ ALSO:IE, EKEDC, AEDC top recipient of N273.24 billion loan from CBN to DisCos to purchase meters, others

“Rather than comply with the Orders of NERC, a recourse to subterfuge was hatched with the purported termination and the publication of different misleading headlines such as “FG Sacks MD of EKEDC”, “Tinuade Sanda relieved of her position as MD, Eko Distribution Company”.

“There are no doubts about a deliberate agenda and unconcealed mischief to misread the Orders of the NERC to malign Dr. Sanda’s reputation for daring to escalate and issue queries to Wola Joseph Condotti for alleged fraud through the use of ghost workers for 3 years, and continuous payment of salaries to exited staffs despite personally receiving their resignation letters.

“Similar queries were issued to Sheri Adegbenro, the Chief Audit and Compliance Officer, and Aik Alenkhe, the Chief Human Resources Officers respectively for their failure and gross negligence to audit and detect fraudulent payments on payroll for over 3 years.

“We are also aware of a purported press release appointing Mrs Rekiat Momoh as the Ag MD/CEO.

“The board of EKEDC, on which I sit has neither met nor decided on the purported appointment of Mrs.Rekiah Momoh as Ag.MD/CEO, except Mr.Otubu and his close circle of colleagues, have transformed themselves into “the board”.

“I and all well-meaning members of the EKEDC board, I believe, should vehemently distance themselves from this contrivance.

“The Board is not a one-man show, and matters are to be collectively deliberated on and approved by Board members. Mrs Momoh is the Chief Commercial Officer of EKEDC and remains so.

“Mr. Otubu and his co-travelers have chosen to cherry-pick the exhaustive interaction with NERC where one of the Commissioners wondered why no one was yet to be tried or in prison for these grievous allegations and how to recover lost funds part-owned by the federal government. They are more focused on settling scores with our performance-driven MD/CEO, Mrs Tinu Sanda.

“At EKEDC, we are known for due process and legality, and anything that would take away from our avowed commitment to due process and corporate governance would be resisted.

“Therefore, let it be known that Dr. Tinuade Sanda remains the MD/CEO of Eko Electricity Distribution Company and has since her assumption of office as the MD/CEO, turned EKEDC around for good, with very great milestones and achievements which every sector player recognizes. She made EKEDC the number-one distribution company in Nigeria. The Investors, Board, and Management of EKEDC believe firmly in her leadership and look forward to many more record-setting and breaking moments.

“This is for the information of the general public and all NESI stakeholders” the statement said.

By: Babajide Okeowo

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