Sunrise Power boss Leno Adesanya breaks silence after being declared wanted by EFCC

Sunrise Power boss Leno Adesanya
Leno Adesanya

Chairman of Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Ltd Leno Adesanya has written a public letter to President Bola Tinubu after being declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Mr Adesanya is wanted over his involvement in the award of the $ 6 billion 3.9MW Mambilla Hydro-Power Project to his company.

Former minister of power and steel Olu Agunloye is standing trial before a Federal High Court in Abuja over allegations of fraud in the award of the project.

In his letter, Adesanya said it was regrettable that the commission would declare him wanted without formally drawing his attention to any charge against him.

He also said it was laughable that the EFCC would accuse him of bribing Agunloye 21 years after he left office with N3.6 million through payment of his medical bill and travel expenses.

“This criminalisation strategy of the FGN using institutions, including the EFCC, is manifest in its effort in alleging that I facilitated the payments of N3.5 million, N500,000 and N1.12 million (A total of N5.22 million) to Dr Agunloye,  in 2019 for his medical treatment in Florida, is laughable, because Dr. Agunloye left government 21 years ago, and ceased to be a public officer in 2001,” the letter read.

“It is pertinent to state that there is no alignment between my kindness of 2019 and the BOT contract of 2003. Who waits for bribes to be paid 16 years after a contract has been awarded? Which stupid minister will collect N12 million bribe for a $6 billion (today’s rate N11 trillion) BOT contract; definitely not a Nigerian security guard, let alone a minister.

 “In the absence of any credible defence to Sunrise’s claims, the FGN through the EFCC has continued to desperately hunt down potential witnesses and to scandalise the underlying contract.

“In support of this objective, the EFCC has now secretly filed a charge against SPTC (in Charge No: FCT/HC/CR/618/2023 between Federal Republic of Nigeria v. Sunrise) pending in a court located in the remote village of Jikowi, on the outskirts of the Federal Capital Territory and bounded by Nasarawa State.

“To date, the said charge has not been served on me nor Sunrise. However, to create leverage in the ongoing dispute, the FGN, acting through the EFCC, has now hurriedly declared me as a ‘wanted person’, without any justification.

“It is on record that I relocated out of Nigeria in December 2017, due to an assassination attempt. With President Buhari and AGF Malami’s knowledge of the threats to my life, all our meetings with Nigerian senators and ministers were held outside Nigeria.

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“All the settlement agreements between SPTC and the FGN were always signed by these ministers (AGF Abubakar Malami, and HMOP Saleh Mamman) before they were dispatched to me through the Personal Assistant to the HMOP In London or Dubai; hence their acknowledgment that my life was not safe in Nigeria.

“I am not missing and have never been missing. I have always made known my willingness to meet and work with Nigerian law enforcement officials at any location where there will be no threat to my life or person.

“Nigerians, what is more fundamental in all that I have said is the need to really understand why the Mambilla project has been stalled for years. One is endemic corruption, and the most dangerous is the issue of the ethnic card.

“On or about the 10th of March 2020, then HAGF Malami called me on the telephone saying that he had read my draft addendum to the settlement agreement and stated that, ‘Mr. Leno, the North will never allow a Yoruba man to be the local content partner for the Mambilla project.’”

Explaining the role of his company in the project, Adesanya said: “In 2001, we established Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Limited, SPTC, as the Special Purpose Vehicle, SPV, to drive this power project.

 “In furtherance thereof, SPTC established working relationships with several Chinese State conglomerates such as North China Power Group, NCPG, China Hydroelectric companies (Sinohydro Corporation of China), and China State Construction, CSCEC.

“Sunrise arranged several meetings for the FGN, and these included meetings in Nigeria and China for then President Obasanjo and the then Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, and as a result, two Chinese presidents visited Nigeria to discuss the Mambilla Project with the FGN.

 “The construction of the Mambilla project was based strictly on a Build, Operate and Transfer structure, BOT, without any funds from the FGN, which means that SPTC and its Chinese partners would source for the funds.

“To date, no money has ever been paid by the FGN to Sunrise and/or Leno Adesanya in respect of the BOT contract.”