N4bn contract scandal rocks NDDC

May 28, 2020
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  • Stakeholder petitions Reps, seeks investigation of interim management committee

The Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) led by Gbene Dr. Joi Nunieh, Acting Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, has developed reputation for serial corruption allegations since inauguration. The NDDC IMC is currently thrown into N4 billion contract scandal. A stakeholder in the Niger Delta has petitioned the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Nigerian National Assembly, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, raising alarm over alleged looting of the commission through payments for non-existent contracts. The petitioner, Ojeh Godwin Esq., demanded investigation of the financial administration of the commission under the current Interim Management Committee.

Ojeh Godwin in the petition accused  Gbene Dr Joi Nunieh, Acting Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC;, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, Acting Executive Director, Projects, NDDC Interim Management Committee; Mr. Ibanga Bassey, Acting Executive Director – Finance and Administration; and other members of the NDDC Interim Management Committee of fraudulent misappropriation of public funds, contract splitting, payment of money for non-existing contract and unauthorised payment beyond official capacity.

Ojeh Godwin declared: “It is saddening that the Ag. MD/CEO of the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC, Gbene Dr. Joi Nunieh, Ag. EDP of NDDC Interim Management Committee; Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, Ag. EDFA of NDDC Interim Management Committee; Mr. Ibanga Bassey and other members of the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC who are to oversee the forensic audit of the NDDC as ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari, in a spate of few months in office, have done nothing but to betray the trust reposed in them. Rather than stemming or exposing the corruption they had accused their predecessors of, they had thrown caution to the winds and don the toga of corruption to perpetrate and perpetuate fraudulent acts and abuse of laid down statutory procedure under the NDDC Act and Public Procurement Act.” Ojeh Godwin raised alarm that the so much acclaimed contract verification Committee led by Gbene Dr. Joi Nunieh, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, Mr. Ibanga Bassey and other members of the Management team allegedly approved the sums of over N4 billion on spurious contracts in the name of supplying of “Maternity Delivery Kits”,  “Cholera Vaccines”,  “Lassa Fever Kits” and “Outstanding Science Equipment”. He said that the contracts were never awarded, and items were never supplied whether with or without due process under the enabling Public Procurement Act.

Ojeh Godwin stated that in breach of the various cited statutory provisions, several payments were made by the IMC in the name of non-existing contracts for Maternal Delivery Kits. He disclosed all the payments so made are detailed below, adding that the Memos referred to were annexed in the petition as ANNEXURE A, B and C. he, therefore, declared that the details of the payments and banks  include:

(i) Pear Medical Support Services paid N357,437,500.00 – First Bank (FBN) Account No: 2034259777.

(ii) Signora Concepts Ltd paid N357,437,500.00 – First Bank (FBN) Account Number 20342732267).

(iii)  T&N Ltd N357,437,500.00 – UBA Account No: 0121112544).

The petitioner further disclosed that some other Companies used to indicate supply of Lassa Fever Protective Kits in the Niger Delta Region include:

(i) Cremes Ltd purportedly awarded contract for 21000 Lassa Fever Protective Kits – TSA/Pro/20/01/0006 -N857,850,000. –FBN Account Number: 2014316595.

(ii) A&G Int. Nig Ltd – 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits in The Niger Delta Area -TSA/Pro/20/01/0004- N47,166,787.50-Zenith Account Number: 1014628310.

(iii) Bukadi Global Services 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits In The Niger Delta Area – TSA/Pro/20/01/0005-N47,166,787.50, Fidelity Bank Account Number: 5080021292;

(iv) Ceeone Pharmacy Ltd – 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits In The Niger Delta Area – TSA/Pro/20/01/0006- N47,166,787.50 – Polaris Bank Account Number:1770953450;

(v)  Chloe Capital & Busi Support – 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits In The Niger Delta Area – TSA/Pro/20/01/0007-N47,166,787.50, GTB Account Number: 0139522300;

(vi) 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;

(vii) Deltafric Concepts – 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits In The Niger Delta Area- TSA/Pro/20/01/0009 – N47,166,787.50, Polaris Bank Account Number: 4091179628;

(viii) Dutu 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;

(ix)  Duxter Services Ltd (100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits In The Niger Delta Area – TSA/Pro/20/01/0011 -N47,166,787.50, GTB Account Number: 0089040175;

(x) 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;

(xi) Guaco Light Ltd – 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits In The Niger Delta Area, TSA/Pro/20/01/0013 – N47,166,787.50, UBA Account Number: 1014623098;

(xii)  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 Number: 0045147182;

(xiii) Lloyds Capital & Busi Support Ltd -100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits In The Niger Delta Area – TSA/Pro/20/01/0015 -N47,166,787.50, Access Bank Account number: 0801084201;

(xiv)  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 Number- 0122807400;

(xv) 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;

(xvi) Master Builder Nig Ltd, 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits In The Niger Delta – TSA/Pro/20/01/0018 – N47,166,787.50, Unity Bank Account Number: 008303813;

(xvii) 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;

(xviii) Path Stones & Logistics Nig Ltd – 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits In The Niger Delta Area – TSA/Pro/20/01/0020 – N47,166,787.50, Eco Bank Account Number 0432008716;

(xix) Pearl Clinics& Maternity Ltd 100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits In The Niger Delta Area – TSA/Pro/20/01/0021 -N47,166,787.50, FBN Account Number: 2034782437;

(xx)  Pearl Medical Support Services Ltd –100 Lassa Fever Protective Kits In The Niger Delta Area – TSA/Pro/20/01/0022 -N47,166,787.50- FCMB Account Number: 5279674010;

(xxi) Signora Concept 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;

(xxii)  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;

(xxiii)  Switch Originel 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.

Ojeh Godwin expressed concerns over the breach of statutory procedure/due process by members of the NDDC IMC. The breaches he listed to include:

(a). Dispensing fund not captured under any Budgetry Allocation/Appropriation

Ojeh Godwin alleged that the MD/CEO of the Interim Management Committee, Gbene Dr. Joi Nunieh; the Ag. EDP of the Interim Management Committee, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh; the Ag. EDFA, Mr. Ibanga Bassey; and other members of the Management Team unilaterally approved the 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”, Ojeh Godwin protested.

He added that 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”.

The petitioner argued that this singular act of theirs was in direct conflict with the provisions of section 16(1) (b) of the Public Procurement Act which provides as follows:

“(1) Subject to any exemption allowed by this Act, all public procurement shall be conducted:

(b) based only on procurement plans supported by prior budgetary appropriations and no procurement proceedings shall be formalised until the procuring entity has ensured that funds are available to meet the obligations and subject to the threshold in the regulations made by the Bureau, has obtained a ”Certificate of No Objection to contract Award “from the Bureau”

Ojeh Godwin insisted that in the instant case, there was no budgetary appropriation and there was no Certificate of No Objection to back up the payments made.

The petitioner lamented that “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 leaderships of the Commission were alleged.”

He added that the Interim Management Committee which came on board and confidently accused the past leaderships of the NDDC of lack-lustre performance, abandoned projects, poor project delivery and so on, are now enmeshed in acts of pervasive corruption, blatant illegality, flagrant abuse of power and flagrant abuse of statutory procedure and due process.

(b) No Competitive Bidding

The petitioner said that Gbene Dr Joi Nunieh, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, Mr. Ibanga Bassey and other members of the Management team of the Interim Management Committee had allegedly carried out several  surreptitious and selective payments on spurious/nonexistent 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.

Ojeh Godwin stated: “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

The petitioner complained that rather than follow due process statutorily laid down under the enabling law, the Interim Management Committee led by Gbene Dr Joi Nunieh, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh and Mr. Ibanga Bassey simply raised an Internal Memo in which it gave summary of contract awards and their various stages, including the names of the beneficiaries companies and the contract sum.

(c) Fraudulent Acts

Ojeh Godwin emphasised that the acts of the Interim Management Committee consisting of Gbene Dr JoiNunieh, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, Mr. Ibanga Bassey and other members, in making payments for purported non-existing contract as detailed above are tantamount to fraud in the public office.

(d). Failure to obtain “Certificate of No Objection to Contract Award”

Ojeh Godwin said that Gbene Dr Joi Nunieh, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, Mr. Ibanga Bassey and other members of the Management team 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. “In this wise, the enabling Public Procurement Act in its section 16 (1) (b) directs as follows:

“Subject to any exception allowed by this Act, all public procurement shall be conducted:

(b)“…based only on procurement plans supported by prior budgetary appropriations, and no procurement proceedings shall be formalized until the procuring entity has ensured that funds are available to meet the obligation and subject to the threshold in the regulations made by the Bureau, has obtained a “Certificate of ‘No Objection to Contract Award from the Bureau,” he declared.

(e) Unauthorized Payments beyond Official Capacity

The petitioner alleged that the Interim Management Committee under the leadership of Gbene Dr Joi Nunieh, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh and Mr. Ibanga Bassey in many instances 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,” he cited.

The petitioner remarked that the limit of money that the Committee can approve after following all the due process is N250 million.

(f) Other Instances of Violation or Gross Violation of the Public Procurement Act

The petitioner stated that 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. He said that 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. Ojeh Godwin noted that 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 of the NDDC, consisting of Gbene Dr Joi Nunieh, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, Mr. Ibanga Bassey and other members of the Management team,” he declared.

Ojeh Godwin disclosed that as a result, the Interim Management Committee made various payments to contractors in contravention of the Public Procurement Act. He highlighted that details of some of the alleged questionable payments are as follows:

  1. Payments made on November 15, 2019:

(a)    N607,445,026 to Attanu Const. Ltd., UBN account 0067379672.

(b)   N623,053,818 to Franez Nig. Ltd., UBN account 0045358643.

(c)    N607,114,818 to Rill Oil Services Ltd., Zenith account 1016082718.

(d)   N655,471,044 to Simoka Marine Ltd., First Bank of Nigeria account 2018520972.

  1. Payments made on December 3, 2019 -The sum of N445,686,266 to Rodnab Construction Ltd., Zenith Account 1013906383.

Ojeh Godwin, therefore, Call for Investigation and its consequential effects.

The petitioner said that as a concerned Nigerian and indigene of the Niger Delta Area, he presented the above detailed infraction of the laws to Speaker Gbajabiamila’s attention, urging him to use his good offices to investigate the complaint/petition.

Ojeh Godwin in the petition, copied President Muhammadu Buhari through the Chief of Staff. He also copied the Minister of Niger Delta, Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta, Chairman, House Committee on Public Petition, Chairman, House Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission, Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission; the National Security Adviser, Director General State Services and the Inspector General of Police.

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