· Lawyer seeks probe of spurious contracts
· writes Senate President, Speaker, others
· Tasks Buhari on the fight against corruption
A legal practitioner, Mr. Ojeh Godwin has lamented what he called flagrant abuse of statutory procedure and due process, calling for an urgent investigation of the activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
‘’It is disheartening that the leadership of the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) which was supposedly set up to restore sanity and rescue the body has taken over the same acts of corruption and fraudulent transactions with which the erstwhile leadership of the Commission were alleged.
The Interim Management Committee which came on board and confidently accused the past leadership of the NDDC of lacklustre performance, abandoned projects, poor project delivery and so on is now enmeshed in acts of pervasive corruption, blatant illegality, flagrant abuse of power and flagrant abuse of statutory procedure and due process’’
He particularly accused former Acting Managing Director of NDDC, Gbene Dr Joi Nunieh of throwing caution to the winds.
‘’It is saddening that the former Ag MD/CEO of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Gbene Dr Joi Nunieh betrayed the trust reposed in her. Rather than stemming or exposing the corruption she had accused her predecessor of, she threw caution to the winds and don the toga of corruption to perpetrate fraudulent acts and abuse of laid down statutory procedure under the NDDC Act and Public Procurement Act.
The much acclaimed contract verification committee led by Gbene Dr. Joi Nunieh approved sums of money in the tune of over N4billion on spurious contracts in the name of supplying maternal delivery kits, cholera vaccines, lassa fever kits and outstanding science equipment contracts that were never awarded and items that were never supplied whether with or without due process under the enabling Public Procurement Act’’
In a petition to the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila and others, the Benin based lawyer accused Nunieh of dispensing fund not captured under any budgetary allocation/appropriation.
‘’It is pertinent to state at the outset that the former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC), Gbene Dr. Joi Nunieh unilaterally approved huge sum of payments without any prior budgetary appropriation. This is reflected in the memo dated January 17, 2020 where she directed the approval and also directed that the summarized information on the Health and Education Projects listed in memos dated 3rd December, 2019 and January 10, 2020 be treated for payment.
She 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. Infact, she overruled the professional advice of a top official (the DPRS) of the Commission, who stated on the memo that ‘’ the request is for inclusion in 2020 budget and not for payment’’. This singular act of the Ag MD/CEO was in direct conflict with the provisions of section 16 (1)(b) of the Public Procurement Act. In the instant case, there was no budgetary appropriation and there was no certificate of No Objection to back up the payment made’’
Titled: Petition against /Chief Executive Officer, Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for fraudulent misappropriation of public funds, contract splitting, payment of money for non-existing contract, unauthorized payment beyond official capacity, Godwin Ojeh said the Interim Management of the Niger Delta Commission had carried out several surreptitious and selective payments on nonexistence emergency contracts.
‘’The Gbene Dr. Joi Nunieh led Interim Management Committee carried out surreptitious and selective payments on spurious 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. 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.
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.
Ojeh Godwin listed 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, 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.
He 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.
He expressed displeasure over the activities of the Interim Management Committee.
‘’Rather than follow due process statutorily laid down under the enabling law, the Interim Management Committee led by Gbene Dr. Joi Nunieh simply raised an internal memo in which she gave summary of contract awards and their various stages including the names of the companies and the contract sum’’
Ojeh Godwin said the actions of Gbene Dr Joi Nunieh in making payments for non-existing contract were tantamount to fraud in the public service.
‘’The Gbene Dr Joi Nunieh Interim Management Committee did not apply for and obtain 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.
‘’For instance, on 22 January, 2020, the sum of N857, 850.00 was paid into the FBN Account No; 2104316595 of Cremes Limited for the supply of Lassa Fever Protective Kits. On the 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 the committee can approve after following due process is N250million’’
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/EPI16/2019/02/01, 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.I/CID/19/Vol. 1/215 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 that 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 of the NDDC led by Gbene Dr Joi Nunieh. As a result, the Interim Management Committee has made various payments to contractors in contravention of the Procurement Act’’
He said the Commission paid N607,445,026 to Atamu 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).
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