A petitioner has revealed the various accounts allegedly used by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to launder funds in pretext of contracts award in flagrant abuse of statutory procedure and due process.
The petitioner, Mr. Godwin Ojeh, a lawyer, in a petition addressed to the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila and others, and made available to BIGPEN on Tuesday, revealed that the alleged phony contracts from which funds were diverted were awarded and funds frittered away by the former 3-man board of the NDDC.
The three officers of NDDC IMC mentioned in the petition include; Dr Joi Gbene Nunieh (who was still the Acting Managing Director of NDDC IMC at that time), Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, the Ag. EDP of the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC, Mr. Ibanga Bassey and other members of the Management Team of the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC.
The petitioner alleged that the trio approved the sums of money to the tune of over N4 billion on spurious contracts in the name of supplying “Maternity Delivery Kits”, “Cholera Vaccines”, “Lassa Fever Kits” and “Outstanding Science Equipment’’.
He claimed that the trio and other members of the Management Team unilaterally approved huge sums of payments without any prior budgetary appropriation.
“This is reflected in the Memo dated January 17, 2020 where they directed the approval and also directed that the Summarised Information on the Health and Education Projects listed in a Memo dated 3rd December, 2019 and January 10, 2020 be treated for payment. They did this despite the fact that the Memo dated January 17, 2020 clearly stated that “The programmes have already been awarded and supplied”, and that “some of the items have already been distributed”.
“In fact, they overruled the professional advice of a top official (the DPRS) of the NDDC, who stated on the Memo that “The request is for inclusion in 2020 budget and not for payment”. This singular act of theirs was in direct conflict with the provisions of section 16(1) (b) of the Public Procurement Act.
The petition dated May 26, 2020, alleged fraudulent misappropriation of public funds, contract splitting, payment of money for non-existing contract, unauthorised payment beyond official capacity, among others.
Ojeh, also alleged that the Interim Management of the Niger Delta Commission had carried out several surreptitious and selective payments on nonexistence emergency contracts.
He claimed that the trio had carried out “several surreptitious and selective payments on spurious/ non-existence emergency contracts which are in direct conflict with and antithetical to the campaign against corrupt practices in public offices by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“This is so in that, there was no time that any public announcement was made to allow for bidding for the said “contracts”. This is a contravention of the provisions of section 16(1) (c) and (d) of the Public Procurement Act which provides as follows: “Subject to any exception allowed by this Act, all public procurement shall be conducted: (c) by open competitive bidding. (d) In a manner which is transparent, timely, equitable for ensuring accountability and conformity with this Act and regulations deriving there from”
He said payments were made to; Pear Medical Support Services (357,437,500.00 – First Bank (FBN) Account No: 2034259777), Signora Concepts Ltd- N357437, 500.00 -First Bank (FBN) Account No; 20342732267) and T & N Ltd – N357, 437,500.00 (UBA Account No; 0121112544.
Also listed in the petition are: Cremes Ltd (21000 Lassa Fever Protective Kits –TSA/Pro/20/01/0006 –N857, 850,000 – FBN Account No; 2014316595, A & G Int. Ltd (100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits in the Niger Delta Area – TSA/Pro/20/01/0004 – N47,166,787.50 –Zenith Bank Account Number 1014628310, Bukadi Global Services (100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits in the Niger Delta Area – TSA/Pro/20/01/0005 – N47,166,787.50 – Fidelity Account Number 5080021292, Ceeone Pharmacy Ltd ( 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits in the Niger Delta Area –TSA/Pro/20/01/0006 –N47,166,787.50 – Polaris Account Number 1770953450, Chloe Capital & Business Support -(100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits in the Niger Delta Area – TSA/Pro/20/01/0007- N47,166,787.50 –GTB Account Number 0139522300, Cremes Ltd ( 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits in the Niger Delta Area –TSA/Pro/20/01/0008 – N47,166,787,50 – FBN Account Number 2034782183), Deltafric Concepts ( 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits in the Niger Delta Area –TSA/Pro/20/01/0009 –N47,166,787.50 – Polaris Account Number 4091179628, Dotu Solutions Ltd ( 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits in the Niger Delta Area –TSA/Pro/20/01/0010 –N47,166,787.50 – Unity Bank Account Number 0085504, Duxter Services Ltd( 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits in the Niger Delta Area –TSA/Pro/20/01/0011 –N47,166,787.50 – GTB Account 0089040175, Falconwood Nig Ltd ( 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits in the Niger Delta Area –TSA/Pro/20/01/0012 –N47,166,787.50 –Unity Bank Account Number 0028812258.
Others mentioned are; Guaco Light Ltd ( 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits in the Niger Delta Area –TSA/Pro/20/01/0013 –N47,166,787.50 –UBA Account 1014623098, Jeog Logistics Nig Ltd ( 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits in the Niger Delta Area –TSA/Pro/20/01/0014 –N47,166,787.50 – Access Bank Account 0045147182, Lloyds Capital & Business Support Ltd ( 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits in the Niger Delta Area –TSA/Pro/20/01/0015 –N47,166,787.50 – Access Bank Account 0801084201 and Madinagreen Nig Ltd ( 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits in the Niger Delta Area –TSA/Pro/20/01/0016 –N47,166,787.50 – Wema Bank Account 0122807400 as companies used to indicate supply of Lassa Fever Protective Kits in the Niger Delta Region.
The petition also listed; Manson Global Healthcare Services ( 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits in the Niger Delta Area –TSA/Pro/20/01/0017 –N47,166,787.50 –FBN Account Number 2033000398, Master Builder Nig Ltd ( 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits in the Niger Delta Area –TSA/Pro/20/01/0018 –N47,166,787.50 –Unity Bank Account Number 008303813, Otams Services Ltd ( 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits in the Niger Delta Area –TSA/Pro/20/01/0019 –N47,166,787.50 – FCMB Account Number 3031833017, Path Stones & Logistics Nig Ltd ( 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits in the Niger Delta Area –TSA/Pro/20/01/0020 –N47,166,787.50 – Ecobank Account Number 0432008716, Pearl Clinics & Maternity Ltd ( 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits in the Niger Delta Area –TSA/Pro/20/01/0021 –N47,166,787.50 – FCMB Account Number 5279674010, Signora Concepts Services Ltd ( 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits in the Niger Delta Area –TSA/Pro/20/01/0023 –N47,166,787.50 – FBN Account Number 2014079850, Squrepyram ID Ltd ( 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits in the Niger Delta Area –TSA/Pro/20/01/0024 –N47,166,787.50 – Zenith Bank Account Number 1015601833 and Switch Original Ltd ( 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits in the Niger Delta Area –TSA/Pro/20/01/0025 –N47,166,787.50 – Fidelity Bank Account Number 4010298726 as other companies used to indicate supply of Lassa Fever Protective Kits in the region.
The petitioner alleged that the trio and other members of the Management team, did not apply for and obtained the requisite “Certificate of No Objection to Contract Award” from the Bureau of Public Procurement as required under the law.
He emphasized that the Interim Management Committee in many instances paid sums of money beyond the bench mark of its official capacity.
The trio, in many instances, the petitioner alleged had paid sums of money beyond the benchmark of its official capacity.
“For instance, on 22 January, 2020 the sum of N857,850.00 was paid into the First Bank of Nigeria Account No: 2104316595 of Cremes Ltd for the supply of Lassa Fever Protective Kits. On same date the sum of N357,437,500.00 were paid separately to Pear Medical Support Services, Signora Concepts Ltd and T&N Ltd. Meanwhile, the limit of money that the Committee can approve after following all the due process is N250 Million.
Ojeh also cited instances of gross violation of the Public Procurement Act.
“Prior to the setting up of the Gbene Dr Joi Nunieh led Interim Management Committee, on May 3, 2019, Prof. Nelson Braimbaifa led board of the NDDC wrote to the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, vide NDDC/BPP/EP16/2019/02/01, seeking ratification of 205 emergency contracts awarded in the 4th quarter of 2016, for the total sum of N81,271,015,478.
“In reaction, on May 8, 2019, the BPP responded vide BPP/S.1/CID/19/Vol.I/215 and rejected the request, declared the action illegal and spelled out the consequences to the Accounting Officer for authorizing such actions.
“The NDDC management at the material time was advised to make detailed records available to enable the Bureau make an informed decision on the request. Interestingly, the same Emergency contracts which the BPP rejected and described as “fraudulent and illegal,” has been approved and paid for by the Interim management Committee.
“As a result, the Interim Management Committee has made various payments to contractors in contravention of the Public Procurement Act’’, the petitioner further alleged.
He said the Commission paid: N607,445,026 to Attanu Const Ltd (UBN Account Number 0067379672), N623,053,818 to Franez Nig Ltd (UBN Account 0045358643), N607,114,818 to Rill Oil Services Ltd (Zenith Account 1016082718), N655,471,044 to Simoka Marine Ltd (First Bank of Nigeria Account 2018520972) and N445, 686, 266 on December 3, 2019 to Rodnab Construction Ltd ( Zenith Account 1013906383).
‘’As a concerned Nigerian and indigene of the Niger Delta Area, I humbly bring the above detailed infraction of the laws to your attention and urge you to use your good offices to investigate this complaint/ petition’’, the petitioner further stated.
Meanwhile, several efforts to reach incumbent EDP of the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh proved abortion as sources said he was jostling how they could answer senate query on the alleged N40 billion allegations.
However, the erstwhile acting MD, Dr Joi Gbene Nunieh, when contacted dismissed the allegations which she said was ‘targeted at her’, saying it was a ‘sponsored petition’ to detract the senate from its investigation. “The said petition is spurious, baseless and of no consequence, it is just detraction from the main issue being investigated by the senate and to vindicate them and make it look like I was the problem. The thing is that the petition is against me only, they just added the two others but it was meant to vindicate them. I don’t have more to say since we know where it is coming from”, she added.
It will be recall that the Senate had in the motion, titled: “Urgent Need to Investigate Alleged Financial Recklessness in the Niger Delta Development Commission,” alleged that reports from the Commission indicated financial fecklessness that must be investigated and stopped.
The Senate had constituted a probe Committee that would investigate alleged embezzlement of over N40 billion reportedly spent within three months by the NDDC’s IMC under questionable circumstances.