Okowa Under Fire Over “Fraudulent” N13.6 Billion State Secretariat Contract

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Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state is currently under severe fire following a controversial N13.6 billion new state secretariat contract allegedly awarded to himself and said to be under construction by a company he has a vested interest in, North China Construction Nigeria Limited.

Controversial has continued to trail the contract which is allegedly been handled by the governor’s elder sister, Ivana Shenton and others been used as cronies by the governor.

Against this backdrop, concerned Delta state All Progressives Congress, (APC), members, have joined other concerned Deltans have accused the state governor Ifeanyi Okowa and others of using the multi-billion contract as a conduit pipe to drain the state treasury.

In a press statement entitled “UBA, Delta State Government And Fraudulent Contract Of N13.6 Billion”, signed by concerned Delta State All Progressives Congress, (APC), members, and obtained by HardReporters, lamented that “The Delta state government that has not been able to pay salaries, pay pensioners, construct any single road in the state, suddenly became interested in building secretariat that the civil servants do not need, for the sole purpose of enriching the person of the governor.”

Below we reproduced the full press statement:

UBA, Delta State Government And Fraudulent Contract Of N13.6 Billion

We want to start this press conference by appreciating the commissioners in the cabinet of Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the civil servants, especially Permanent Secretary and directors in Delta state government, who are opposed to the level of corruption in this administration and are assisting us with documents and information, in which to address these ills in Delta State.

These great sons and daughters of Delta State have drawn our attention to a contract document purportedly prepared by the Hon. Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Delta state, Peter Mrakpor Esq. on a contract project of N13,645,131,243.57 (Thirteen billion, six hundred and forty five million, one hundred and thirty one thousand, two hundred and forty three naira fifty seven Kobe), awarded by the state government to North China Construction Nigerian Limited.

The Delta state government that has not been able to pay salaries, pay pensioners, construct any single road in the state, suddenly became interested in building secretariat that the civil servants do not need, for the sole purpose of enriching the person of the governor.

To legalize the fraud, the government thought of ways of incorporating a fraudulent company (North China Construction Nigeria Limited). This company has no link with the Chinese, it is purely a Nigeria company.

The promoter of this company is one Dr. Osakwe Osadebe, who was governor Ifeanyi Okowa accounting officer in UBA bank. Okowa asked him to resign to promote this fraudulent deal.

TONY ELUMELU AND UBA

Tony Elumelu is one of the greatest son of Delta State and he’s respected in Nigeria, reverend in Africa and eulogised worldwide. He’s the chairman of UBA and he’s acclaimed as one of the greatest philanthropist Africa has ever known.

His entrepreneurship programmes for Africa has set him back to close to $500 million, all the more reason why we are concern that the company he’s the chairman is involved in this fraudulent arrangement.

PROFILE OF NORTH CHINA CONSTRUCTION NIGERIA LIMITED

The company was incorporated in 2014 with a share capital of N20 million. UBA would have known that a company with a share capital of N20 million has no business with a contract of N13.6 billion.

UBA did not carry out due diligence before undertaking to grant loan to this company. The loan became particularly suspicious in the sense that UBA didn’t grant the loan to the construction company, but, rather grant the loan to the government of Delta State. In the process, Delta state government has mortgage the future of the state for four years in order to pay this fraudulent loan.

UBA should have pointed this out that it is illegal for a Nigeria government to issue a contract in foreign denomination to a Nigeria company totally domicile in the country.

The $18 million tranche of this dubious contract will be paid to the governor of Delta State in any country of his choice for personal use. What makes it even more suspicious is that the supervision of this contract was taken from the Ministry of Housing and taken to the Ministry of Special Duties. To pacify the Commissioner in charge of Housing Ministry, N20 million was given to him.

Although the story has been trending in the social media, but the full document of the contract in our possession, revealed that while the phase one of the contract would gulped the sum of N8 billion with a duration period of nine (9) months, phase two of the contract, which has a duration period of 15 months, would gulped the sum of US$18,508,627.03 or N5,645,134,243.57 @ US$1: NGN305.

The total schedule for the contract is 24 months and the total sum of the contract is N13,645,131,243.57.

The implications of the above dollar rate is that, as the contract stands today, it is above N13.6 billion as earlier calculated, because the exchange rate of dollar today is N365 to a dollar.

CONTRACT SCHEDULE

(Phase 1)

Deliverables (9 months)

Bill No1 (Prelims and general items)

Bill No2 (Demolition/relocation)

Bill No3 (Main building)

Sewage and water treatment plants.

(Phase 2)- (Starting 10th month)

Deliverables (15 months)

Bill No 3A (Plumbing & Mechanical)

Bill No 3B (Electrical Services)

Balance (External works & finishing).

The contract documents revealed that the contractor will be responsible for obtaining facility A and facility B for the completion of phase 1 and phase 2 of the project respectively.

Even though the whole contract is shrouded in secrecy, UBA has already been instructed on how the payment would be made.

According to the document, “notwithstanding the date of this agreement, this agreement is deemed to be effective on execution and upon the release of funds by United Bank for Africa Plz with respect to Facility A to the contractor after the parties would have met the conditions precedent to drawdown.”

Our submission is that the drawings and bills of quantity should be handed over to an independent professional team of quantity surveyors for vetting and all the companies that participated in the bidding should be made known with their individual profiles.

While the contract schedule was dated December, 2016, we discovered that since the agreement was signed and till date, disbursements of the contract money have continued unabated without commensurate work on ground. Not even five percent of the contract has been done.

The annoying part is that from start to completion of this project, the total repayable is N21 billion of taxpayers’ money of a contract of N13.6 billion.

This is wicked, irresponsible and act of war against the people of Delta State.

Our hearts go to the civil servants, who have not received salaries in the past months and have work hard to promote the state. 95 percent of them are opposed to this contract, even the commissioners of the state. We learnt that more than 90 percent of them opposed the contract they believed would mortgage the future of the state.

We are calling on the Chairman of UBA, who incidentally is our son to intervene in this fraudulent contract by the government of Delta State. We are giving Elumelu this opportunity because he’s from Delta state to cancel this contract, or we will go to court to seek for redress. The future of Delta people is what we are discussing here, we will not fold our arms and see one person destroying our state. Enough of this waste and pilfering by a man, who is supposed to show concern for the welfare of our state.

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