Staff members of the Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPADEC) have accused its Managing Director, Abubakar Yelwa of turning the agency into a private estate, undermining its operational effectiveness.
According to the workers, since the assumption of office, Yelwa has recklessly inflated contracts and committed other acts that could potentially hinder the commission from fulfilling its mandate.
They also accused the managing director of financial fraud and job racketeering running into billions of naira.
One of the workers, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation, alleged that Yelwa and the Board Chairman have formed a dangerous collaboration with contractors to defraud the commission.
“It is a sad tale at HYPADEC as we speak. The MD and the chairman have been engaged in a very distasteful act since they assumed office. The way and manner approvals are granted, especially for contracts that are not executed most of the time, is alarming. It is a beehive of activities for friends and cronies of the MD,” he alleged.
“The MD is the chief procurement officer, and everything must go through his table. Contract papers are signed in his office, and payment vouchers are raised immediately. These contracts are usually to his cronies or companies linked to him.”
Another source at the agency alleged that contracts are sold by agents of the MD who will not carry them out but get full payments afterwards.
“The MD has commissioned agents who sell contracts on his behalf. These contracts are paid for in full before award letters are issued. These agents would, in turn, process payments whether the contracts are executed or not. It is also sad that the chairman of the board who is supposed to act as a check to the MD is in bed with him,” he added.
“The MD and the chairman are the ones running the agency. Others merely come to the office to read newspapers. Nobody gets anything unless the MD and the chairman give their blessing. It is a shame that even down to the supply of toiletries, the MD is in charge of it. Either one relative or cousin is making claims for payment, or they are carrying the identity card of the agency.”
Another staffer of the agency also corroborated this. He stated that the MD had turned the recruitment of workers into an avenue to bring in family and friends at the detriment of other qualified people under the operational mandate of the commission.
“Only the MD and his friends sat down and allocated everything to themselves, leaving the neglected people of the region with cleaners. You will be shocked that most of those recruited were not qualified but got the jobs because the MD and his cronies decide those that are termed qualified or not.”
He added that the MD also ensured that only people from his state get first consideration for employment.
“Apart from the lopsided employment of people from Kebbi state, where the MD hails from, employment slots are in the market to the highest bidders. A grade level 7 position in HYPADEC is sold in the open market for two million naira. Anything higher is considered a special arrangement where some agents of the MD would negotiate with prospective job seekers,” the worker added.
“This is the order of the day at HYPEDEC. The agency is filled with misfits with little knowledge of the operational mandate of the agency. And nobody dares say anything because the MD is a very vindictive man. Once he perceives you as a threat, he transfers you to a less visible department or denies you your allowances and salaries, using flimsy excuses for the omission or delay.
“It’s a buying spree for the MD. He buys like the world is coming to an end. I can bet that the wealth he has accumulated since he assumed office runs into billions of naira. And all of these were from infractions committed with the agency’s finance.
“For some reason, he seemed to have the backing of some powerful forces at the centre. He brags about it and advises anyone that cares to listen that as far as the HYPADEC is concerned, it’s either his way or the highway.
“With how things are going, HYPADEC might end up as a moribund agency if urgent steps are not taken to arrest the decline. The MD is a complete misfit for the position. His only interest is how to amass wealth. And to think the chairman of the board is neck in the heist is pathetic.”
Efforts to reach Yelwa on the phone to respond to the allegations were not successful as he did not answer calls from SaharaReporters. He had not replied to a text message sent to him at the time of filing this report.
Source: Sahara Reporters.