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Scandal Rocks NIPOST As Senate Probes N10 Billion Restructuring Funds

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Irregularities have been discovered in the subsidiaries of the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST), prompting the Senate to commence a probe into the N10 billion restructuring funds released to the agency by the Federal Ministry of Finance.

Naija News reports that the NIPOST subsidiaries under scrutiny are NIPOST Properties and Development Company and NIPOST Transport and Logistics Services Limited.

The Senate, in a resolution in 2023, revealed that it uncovered an alleged illegal transfer of federal government shares in two NIPOST subsidiaries to private individuals.

According to The Nation, some individuals in critical positions within the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and NIPOST were listed as shareholders of the two NIPOST subsidiaries.

The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) records confirm that as of November 8, 2023, some top officials of BPE control significant shares in the subsidiaries.

Responding to these discoveries, the Senate, in its resolution last year, declared the NIPOST subsidiaries “irregular and illegal” and recommended their immediate winding up and deregistration.

The Senate resolution demanded a thorough investigation into the N10 billion voted by the Ministry of Finance for NIPOST’s restructuring and recapitalization.

Should evidence of “injudicious utilization” surfaces, the Senate said the committee responsible must recover the total amount.

The resolution reads: “The sum of N10 billion released by the Ministry of Finance for the proposed NIPOST restructuring and recapitalisation be investigated and the funds fully recovered if established to be injudiciously utilised by the relevant committee of the Assembly charged with the responsibility of fiscal prudence.”

A high-ranking government official, who spoke anonymously, highlighted the immense value of NIPOST’s property assets, estimated in trillions of naira, and expressed the alarm at the prospect of the assets falling into private hands through share inheritance.

“Imagine 15 years from now when none of us is on the scene, their children can come and lay claims to the shares, and in the eyes of the law, those shares will belong to whoever their next of kin will be, for government assets,” the official told The Nation.

He further emphasized: “The alleged share transfers represent a blatant disregard for established legal frameworks. Even the recently enacted Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) allocates shares to corporate entities, not individuals.”

It was learnt that after receiving a letter on the infraction, the individuals involved hurriedly reassigned their shares in NIPOST Transport and Logistics to three government entities: NIPOST (80%), BPE (10%) and the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) (10%).

The publication discovered controversial shareholding arrangements that have led to changes in the ownership structure of NIPOST Properties and Development Company.

The changes reinforced concerns about the legality and transparency of the original share transfer.

As the official noted, “BPE has no business holding shares in NIPOST, and the involvement of an MDA in shareholding directly contradicts established procedures.”

The government official who raised doubts over the credibility of the transaction stated that “the Senate is unwavering in its stance, demanding investigation and rectification.”

“The NIPOST scandal raised serious questions about corporate governance and asset protection within public institutions. The Senate’s swift action and call for investigations are commendable, but ensuring swift, comprehensive, and transparent results is paramount. The Nigerian public deserves clear answers and the assurance that their national assets are being protected with utmost integrity,” the official said.

Reacting to inquiries from The Nation, a BPE official said: “The NIPOST subsidiaries were registered in 2020, and at the time, the CAC portal only allowed individuals to be shareholders as there was no option of using companies as shareholders.

“This was because the commission wanted to hold people accountable in respect of shares ownership. Subsequently, the CAMA 2020 became operative in January 2021, which was six (6) months after the Companies were registered.

“The portal was thereafter updated to allow companies to hold shares but with representatives. The shareholding of NIPOST subsidiaries has been duly corrected to reflect the intent of the subscribers.”

George Oshogwe Ogbolu is a Digital Media Strategist | Content Writer | Journalist | New Media Influencer | Proofreader and Editor at Naija News.