The defense put up vigorously by the legal team representing the newly appointed Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs Dr. Doyin Okupe that his involvement in an alleged contract scam in Benue and Imo States was purely a ‘commercial transaction’ and therefore not a private matter involving him as a person does not add up and is indeed a red herring since registered companies as legal entities do not exist on their own without the individual owners who run the commercial activities as brains behind the companies. The Rights Group accused the lawyers of engaging in semantic gymnastics and dancing around a sensitive issue.
With this summation, a development focused Non-Governmental Organization-HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA [HURIWA] has asked President Goodluck Jonathan to sack his newly appointed Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs Dr. Doyin Okupe since his continuous stay in office would amount to an unmitigated distraction to the President because it would amount to double speak for the Federal Government to retain the services of a person with unanswered allegations of contract fraud as one of the leading spokespersons in an administration that has already come under intense criticism for lacking serious anti-graft commitment.
The Rights Group also charged the Benue and Imo State Governments to speak out clearly on this ongoing contract scam controversy and take action on behalf of the good people of their states to recover the said money allegedly collected from their States for roads construction which were allegedly abandoned without any work to show for the huge alleged payments. HURIWA stated that posterity will not forgive any of the two Governors who hide under political affiliations to let the allegations go unresolved and the culprits indicted to go unpunished.
In a statement jointly endorsed by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Officer Miss. Zainab Yusuf, the RIGHTS body cautioned the ruling Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] and the Action Congress of Nigeria not to reduce the weighty issue of alleged contract scam involving the Presidential aide to mere political debate since the allegations border on a serious and very critical matter of corruption and economic crimes which if not properly investigated and the alleged culprits brought to book in the competent court of law could jeopardise Nigeria’s rating and standing in the International community. These two political parties must not politicize such very grave economic crime allegations.
HURIWA therefore tasked President Jonathan to practice what he is preaching regarding anti-corruption commitment of his administration which is waning and declining rapidly, by relieving his newly appointed Presidential spokesman on Public Affairs to go and clear his name of allegations of collecting mobilization fees from the Benue State Government for rural roads construction which he allegedly never delivered till date.
HURIWA stated thus; “We know as well as most people that a limited company is a company in which the liability of each shareholder is limited to the amount individually invested. But in this instance of alleged collection of payment of huge mobilization fees of N886.8 million since July 17th 2006 paid to MESSRS VALUE TRUST INVESTMENT LIMITED reportedly owned by Dr. Doyin Okupe for the construction of rural roads in Benue State using loamy soil stabilization without any work executed allegedly for this huge payment must be thoroughly investigated and if verified, the individuals who personally cashed the mobilization fees must be made by the legal authorities and the anti-graft agencies to cough out the exact amount collected with huge interest even as the persons so involved and duly indicted must be sanctioned in accordance with extant laws of the land no matter how highly placed they may be at the moment. That is the way the rule of law should operate and the law should not be made to become a respecter of any person no matter how influential that person is or else we will end up institutionalizing impunity in the highest place.”
Specifically, media reports quoting Benue State Government House confirmed that MESSRS value trust investment limited purportedly traceable to Dr. Okupe was awarded a contract on April 24th 2004 to construct 230 kilometers of rural roads in the state at the cost of N2.3 Billion, using loamy soil stabilisation. 30 percent was reportedly paid as mobilization for completion within 18 months but it failed to do so. Lawyers to Dr. Okupe cleared him of the allegations and stated that the issues in question were purely commercial transactions.