EXCLUSIVE: Document Exposes How Governor Okowa Jacked Up Contract Approval Limit To N250 Million For Himself To Loot Treasury

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A classified document entitled “Review Of Expenditure Approval Limits” signed by the Secretary to Delta State Government, (SSG), Festus Ovie Agas, copied the office of the deputy governor, commissioners, chairmen of commissions, Accountant General and Auditors General (State and Local Government) has exposed how governor Ifeanyi Okowa jacked up contract approval limit for himself to N250 million, an avenue he is said to be looting the state treasury.

The document which also copied the Senior Special Assistants, Special Assistants, Political Aides to the governor and his deputy as well as heads of relevant government agencies and parastatals and exclusively obtained by HardReporters, further revealed how governor Okowa reduced to the barest minimum powers of his commissioners to approve contracts.

According to the document, “I wish to inform you that in line with continuing efforts to streamline existing processes in the state public service for more effective service delivery, the state executive council has approved changes to the existing thresholds of expenditure.”, but this according to an impeccable government house source, the state executive council was not carried along in the contract approval limit but was “Singlehandedly done by the governor without the knowledge and input of anyone.” our source said.

The document revealed that until now the expenditure approval limit for contracts for past governors James Ibori and Emmanuel Uduaghan was N50 million while the commissioners’ approval limit for a contract was N1 million.

The document used by Okowa to jack up for himself N250 million contract approval limit as obtained by HardReporters.

It was further revealed that commissioners currently serving under the Okowa’s administration have no single power of approval limit for a contract even as low as N1,000 without the governor’s approval, thereby strangulating the commissioners.

Despite ceaselessly advertising himself as an apostle of due process and transparency, Governor Okowa is alleged to be operating an opaque contract award system in his state. This website investigation shows that the lack of transparency in contract awards is characterized by blunt refusal to advertise bids, as required by the Procurement Act; contract splitting, cornering of contracts through fronts by members of Okowa’s family, cronies and officials of his government.

Our source disclosed that through the N250 million contract approval limit, governor Okowa has been able to award contracts worth billions of naira to himself using fronts and cronies, “Such contracts are awarded in tranches without the state executive council approval. That is how the governor loot the treasury, raking in billions of naira into his private pockets. He singlehandedly award the contracts without question.” the source said.

The flip side of the document.

“You will be surprised to know that since inception, the governor has been solely spending over 80 percent of the state’s budget following his N250 million contract approval limit without any recourse to the State Executive Council. Even at times, the governor used closed commissioners as fronts to executive contracts for him and one of such commissioners is the commissioner for Urban Renewal, Mr Karo Ilolo.” dependable source revealed.

 

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