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Published On: Sun, Aug 30th, 2015

EFCC Investigates Fraudulent Contracts In Anambra


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Peter-Obi (1)

The new redefined anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC], under the new administration of the federal government headed by President Mohammadu Buhari may have found its anti-corruption footing again as the EFCC Chairman battles for his continued stay as the head of the EFCC.

Information available to 247ureports.com from consortium of competent sources indicate that the EFCC operators have compiled a list of potentially corrupt officials, and practices – that it intend to begin aggressive investigation against. One out of the officials includes the former governor of Anambra State, Chief Peter Obi – whom operators within the EFCC allege has received petitions on his fraudulent contract award practices while at the realm of affairs in Anambra for eight years – “he may have looted funds in excess of N700billion”, claims the EFCC source.

Prior to leaving the seat of Governor of Anambra State, the petition claimed that Governor Peter Obi awarded contracts in excess of 1trillion Naira to friends and cousins. The contracts numbered in excess three hundred [300] – with many of the contracts being valued upwards of 500million Naira. Most of the contracts were awarded without bidding or due process. “He will award the contracts and then collect 20% upfront for himself” said the petitioner who also added that some of the contracts were yet to be flagged off before he would collect the 20% ‘kickback’.  He collected the said kickbacks on all of the 300 contract awards. The EFCC source revealed that preliminary evidence suggest that Peter Obi may have been engaged in the fraudulent practice for the eight [8] years he served as governor – summing to an estimated sum in excess of N700billion.

 

The ongoing construction of flyover along enugu/osha expressway - the Peter Obi administration attempted truncating the contract specifications in order to loot the funds from the project. Obiano halted it and instructed the project continued as designed

The ongoing construction of flyover along enugu/osha expressway – the Peter Obi administration attempted truncating the contract specifications in order to loot the funds from the project. Obiano halted it and instructed the project continued as designed

The frontal view of the Awka mega shopping mall - under construction.

The frontal view of the Awka mega shopping mall – under construction.

Another frontal view of the mall

Another frontal view of the mall

In addition to the blatant fraud of collecting 20% kickback upfront before flag off of contracts, the petition cited blatant illegal adjustments to contractual bid documents and agreement to result in the looting of up to 50% of the contract sum. A case point example was given as the Awka Mega Shopping mall being erect near the legendary Ikenga Hotel in Awka. The original contract specifications which the contractors used to bid on the project included provisions for a comprehensive movie theatre and an art gallery of world scale standard. The movie theatre was to be placed on the topmost floor of the shopping mall. But as the contract was awarded, the Peter Obi administration released the money and then told to the contractor to not construct the movie theatre and the art gallery. In so doing, the contractor would not be paid for the movie gallery – while the money for the gallery had already been withdrawn from the state treasury. According to the petitioner, the Peter Obi also collected an upfront 20% kickback before flagging off the project. “Peter Obi made over 130million from the shopping scam”.

Similar practises were alleged to have occurred with other projects. One of the major ones highlighted by the petitioner was the Agulu Lake Resort which Peter Obi launched at the eve of his leaving the seat of governor. The multi-billion naira project is reported to have netted Peter Obi and his group sums in excess of N900million. According to an EFCC operator, cursory inspection of the contract documents and the contract terms and conditions show that the contract was inflated by over 250% – and that the project on ground reflects a toned down project compared to the stipulations on the design and engineering drawings. “Many of the items on the engineering drawings are not on ground, they removed it but the money have been released”.  The same fraudulent practice was alleged to have taken place in Onitsha – with the Onitsha mega shopping mall.

Newly erected modern bus stops with seating arrangement and night lighting

Newly erected modern bus stops with seating arrangement and night lighting

The ongoing construction of three giant flyovers in the state capital was also alleged to be the result of the current administration’s refusal to play along with the fraudulent scam. The original contract specifications developed by the Peter Obi administration for the rehabilitation of sections of the Enugu/Onitsha federal expressway included provisions for three flyovers – it was submitted to the federal government under the then President Goodluck Jonathan for approval for funds to be remitted for the project. Basing on the engineering design presented by the Peter Obi administration, the project cost was estimated and approved and funds made available to the Peter Obi administration.  But as the actual contract work commenced, Peter Obi instructed the contract engineer to remove the three flyovers and the network of gutters.  The contractor had little or no choice but to agree. And the work commence with Peter Obi pocketing the money originally earmarked for the construction of 3 mega flyovers and broad network of gutters.

With the arrival of the present administration [Willie Obiano], and upon comprehensive inspection of all existing contract agreements/documents and engineering specifications of the many ongoing projects, the obvious became clear. It became apparent major financial offenses may have been committed by the former chief executive officer of the state. According to the petitioner, the incoming governor became fixed in a corner – without a quick solution to the quagmire. Most of the pending contractual agreements were not executable owing to the manner funds had been disbursed directly to Chief Peter Obi without the contract receiving any portion of the said monies.

For this reason, the contractors find themselves having to consider downing tools for reasons of their inability to carry their various projects to completion. Available information indicate many of the contractors have since abandoned their projects for lack of funds solely because of Governor Obiano’s insistence on completing the various projects according to design specifications – or face litigation.

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