Understandably distracted by the high intensity of the ongoing electioneering campaigns, the public seems to have ignored an equally important issue of the moment. This has to do with the many scams trailing the PVC contract awarded by INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega. Considering the low publicity, this piece comes as a modest effort by a concerned citizen to put a spotlight on the issue, in the hope that the public will be better informed on the facts. Below, therefore, are the verified facts and disclosures, which have been supplied by patriotic Nigerians working at INEC, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and other pertinent entities.
First, as regards the PVC, an obscure and poorly capitalised Nigerian company, ACT Technologies Limited, was awarded a N2.6 billion contract by Jega to produce them. Then, just as immediately, ACT proved its technical incompetence by sub-contracting the production of the PVCs to a Chinese firm, potentially in flagrant violation of national security laws on protection of biometric information of Nigerians. Official records show that the contract was awarded since February 2013 in naira and was supposed to be performed within seven months, but almost immediately re-designated by Jega in dollars to the Chinese company at US$140 million. That was more than two years ago.
Second, an itemised voucher of the payments ordered by Jega confirmed that on February 14, 2013, INEC paid N489, 937,500 to ACT Technologies, being initial payment for the production of the PVCs. The money was paid through JAIZ Islamic Bank. After the initial payment, other hurried payments totaling more than N2.6 billion was paid to the Nigerian and Chinese companies for the fast-track production of the over 68.8 million PVCs.
They were again given seven months from April 13, 2013 to fully produce and supply them. Those seven months have long passed and despite full payment by Jega, the PVCs are yet to be fully supplied, just two weeks to the election set for March 28, 2015.
Third, despite ACT’s proven inability to perform, Jega authorised another quickly arranged payment of N590, 871,418 on February 19, 2015, a clear five days after the presidential election was meant to have been held on February 14. Still, according to highly-placed sources at INEC, a significant batch of the PVCs are yet to be produced, just few days to the presidential election set for March 28, 2015.
Fourth, what is most worrisome is the fact that Jega, on 19th February 2015, paid more than N500 million for PVCs that would not have been used for the elections. Recall that the elections would have been held and a ‘winner’ declared on 14th February, without these outstanding PVCs. The credit for preventing this infamy goes to all the patriotic Nigerians who boldly came together to stop Jega and the few that insisted on February 14th, most probably because they knew all along that this whole scheme was deliberately geared to a certain hideous objective. It is now known why some ‘favoured’ parts of the country recorded very high PVC distribution and ‘collection’ than others. Why was Jega not bordered that millions of Nigerians would have been disenfranchised to an extent that would have led to judicial annulment of the entire results?
Fifth, a check of public records showed that ACT had listed a certain Ahmad Yahaya as its Vice President, but that information was removed since the ill-fated PVC contract award. Yahaya also maintains a LinkedIn account that listed him as former Vice President of ACT. A check of other internet records reveal that Ahmad Yahaya also has an active Facebook account as Ahmad Yahaya Jega, and listed Jega, Kebbi State as his hometown. INEC Chairman Attahiru Jega is also from Jega in Kebbi State, and like Ahmad Yahaya Jega, attended Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. A casual scrutiny of Ahmad Yahaya Jega’s Facebook profile picture shows a striking resemblance to the visage of INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega; so it raises the high likelihood that two are closely related by blood or kinship.
Sixth, ACT Technologies listed a paltry N10 million as its share capital, according to certified records at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). It raises questions as to why Jega could have awarded such a sensitive contract of almost N3b to such an inadequately funded, technically unqualified company like ACT. There are so many better-qualified, older, financially capable and tested ICT companies owned by Nigerians.
Seventh, according to other highly reliable official records, ACT had listed as its partners the following reputable companies: Microsoft USA, Avalon Biometrics Spain, Oberthur Technologies of France, Cisco Systems, and Hewlett Packard. But a check of the corporate profiles of these companies did not have ACT as a partner to any of them. If that is true, why then did ACT re-award the PVC contract to an unnamed and less-qualified Chinese company when it has these more technically qualified companies as partners? What did Jega know about this, and when did he know it? These questions are germane to Nigeria’s date with March 28, and its aftermaths.