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Vanguard Newspaper 03 February 2018

8 — SATURDAY Vanguard,

8 — SATURDAY Vanguard, MARCH 3, 2018 N3.48b NDDC contract: EFCC closes in on Senator By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor A Nigerian Senator has come under the searchlight of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for using his influence to corner N3.4 billion job for himself, using companies licensed by family members, friends and associates to secure the questionable jobs. The Senator (name withheld) who is already in court with the EFCC for supplying used equipment to a Southern State in place of new ones and using the money to purchase a monumental building in Lagos, is being probed by the anti-graft agency for influence peddling, breach of public trust and abuse of the public procurement Act in the award of the multi-million contract for the ‘provision of plastic chairs and desks for primary and secondary schools in nine states of the Niger Delta-Abia, Imo, Ondo, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Bayelsa, Rivers, Edo and Delta. Saturday Vanguard gathered that trouble started for the Senator when the EFCC received a petition on the fraudulent NDDC contract award from anti-corruption group, which alleged that the said contract did not pass through any bidding process as prescribed by law. The petitioners, Anti- Corruption Group and Integrity Forum, a group interested in promoting good governance, transparency and sustenance of the rule of law in Nigeria, raised the alarm that the Senator virtually used his position as the Chairman of a powerful Senate Committee to force the NDDC to hand over the huge jobs covering the nine states to him. Findings by EFCC showed that the lawmaker used 15 companies, which are closely related to him to award contracts valued at N3,483,144,000 to himself not minding that the jobs did not go through any procurement process. Most worrisome to the crack team of EFCC investigators is the discovery that four of the companies were registered in the name of the Senator’s younger brother while the rest had the imprints of his proxies and business associates. Documents obtained by Saturday Vanguard from investigators gave the names of the companies used by the Senator to secure the jobs as: Benchmark Construction & Projects Limited; Milestone Allied Builders Limited; Edendoma Stars Intl; Isumabe U.K Global Ventures; Nelpat (Nig) Company; Edrihide Company; Antlers Construction & Allied Works Limited; AGH- Rown Ventures; NOAN Integrated Services Limited; De-Towers Construction & Allied Services; Eastern Wrought Iron Limited; Franstine Nig. Enterprise; Brant Technologies; Omozuabho Global Resources and Bugstruct Limited. Documents at the disposal of Saturday Vanguard also indicate that out of the 15 firms suspected to be linked to the Senator based on Corporate Affairs Commission’s records on their ownership, Investigations reveal that out of the above companies, all believed to have links with Senator, Benchmark Construction & Projects Limited got the contract for the production of plastic desks and chairs for primary and secondary schools in Abia State at the cost of N232,209,600, Milestone Allied Builders Limited and Edendoma Stars International Ltd got the same contract sum of N232,209,600 each for the same purpose in Akwa Ibom State. On the other hand, Isumabe U.K Global Ventures; Nelpat (Nig) Company and Edrihide Company also got N232,209,600 each for the same contract in Bayelsa. In Cross River State, Antlers Construction & Allied Works Limited got her share of the contract sum of N232,209,600 for the same production of plastic desks and chairs for primary and secondary schools while AGH-Rown Ventures and NOAN Integrated Services Limited were also awarded the same contract in Delta State at the cost of N232,209,600 each. Brant Technologies, Omozuabho Global Resources and Bugstruct Limited also got N232,209,600 each for the same job in Rivers State. Similarly, De-Towers Construction & Allied Services, Eastern Wrought Iron Limited and Franstine Nig. Enterprise got N232,209,600 each as contract sum for the production of same plastic desks and chairs for primary and secondary schools in Edo, Imo and Ondo States respectively. However, EFCC teams working on the probe of the Senator are trying to establish and locate the schools in the nine states where the said chairs and desks are currently being used after the lawmaker had received more than 50 percent of the fund as mobilisation fee. Further investigations into the registration history of the above-mentioned companies with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) Abuja revealed that four of the firms- Benchmark Construction & Projects Limited with RC No: 925180; Milestone Allied Builders Limited with RC No: Continues on Page 43 Mr. Onochie Anibeze, Saturday Vanguard Editor, (right) presenting a consolation prize of Tastee Fried Lunch Pack for a couple to Mrs. Ovadje Helen Okitoto in the recently concluded Vanguard's Valentine Love Note Competition at the newspaper Headquarters, Apapa, Lagos. Photo: Bunmi Azeez 2019, insecurity: IBB, Danjuma hold talks in Minna FORMER Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida on Thursday played host to former Chief of Army Staff, General Theophilus Danjuma during which they held a closed door meeting. Gen. Danjuma was said to have arrived Minna International Airport at about 11:45am on Thursday and was driven straight to the hill top residence of Gen. Babangida. The source said the meeting commenced immediately after launch at about 1 p.m. and lasted over three hours. Immediately after the meeting, General Danjuma was driven straight to the Minna Airport in a Mercedes Benz E class belonging to Gen. Babangida which brought him from the Airport . A dependable source told our correspondent that the former Military leaders must have discussed current national issues including 2019 general elections and security. According to the source, “Nobody was with them during the meeting and so nobody could actually say what they discussed. The meeting started immediately after they had lunch together and the closed door meeting lasted over three hours. “However, I can tell you that they must have discussed the general situation in the country including security, politics and other sensitive matters. General Danjuma left the house here exactly 4:05 and he was taken straight to the airport and that is all I can tell you about the visits”. Gen. Babangida had been playing host to prominent Nigerians since former president Olusegun Obasanjo wrote the incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari to go home and rest in 2019 and that he should not contest the presidential election. Gen. Babangida also released a similar letter on Gen. Buhari. ANTI-GRAFT AGENCY: Lawyers’ group hails Osinbajo over statement By Charles Kumolu THE League of Patriotic Lawyers has hailed Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for saying that the executive would not change its position on the chairmanship of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. Briefing newsmen in Lagos, Chairman of the group, Mr. Abubakar Yesufu described the Vice President as being consistent with the truth on the matter. His words: “Ibrahim Magu remains the last man standing despite attempts to intimidate and blackmail him. Magu’s credentials remain unblemished and spotless as the cattle egret. Here is a man who put his in-law, the former Managing Director of Bank of the North, Mallam Bulama on trial, and eventually convicted him. ‘’Here is a man who has put senior retired and serving military officers on trial for financial crimes. Here is a man who has refused to compromise and demanded justice. “It would be ambitious for anybody to think that he would ever be confirmed when more than 15 senators are on his radar. “Until more than the 15 cases that abound in our various courts are consolidated and determined, Magu, like the Vice President said remains the EFCC boss, either in an acting capacity or otherwise.” 2019: Okowa has no rival — Aide By Johnbosco Agbakwuru DELTA State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Barrister Mary Iyasere, weekend, expressed confidence that the state Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa would outrun other contenders from the opposition political parties in the 2019 governorship elections. The Commissioner said the governor’s re-election would be a smooth ride based on his giant strides in industrialization and economic revival of the state. Speaking in an interview with Saturday Vanguard, Barrister Iyasere explained that ailing companies inherited by the state government were coming on stream through strategic partnership with the private sector. She said since assumption of office, Governor Okowa has taken bold initiatives to reduce unemployment in the state with Skill Training and Entrepreneurship programme, STEP, and Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme, YAGEP, under the SMART AGEN- DA development blueprint . She said that Delta was on the threshold of a gradual industrial revolution and economic prosperity. According to Iyasere, “The Okowa administration is reviving moribund industries like Bendel Steel among others to boost the economy of the state and thousands of youths have been trained and equipped to own their businesses in Delta state.” The commissioner noted that the state government inspired the youths to establish the various vocational ventures for wealth creation and enduring means of survival towards the fulfilment of their destiny and overall growth of the state. According to her, “With the productive engagement of the younger generation, incidents of youth restiveness, pipeline vandalism and all forms of economic sabotage and criminal tendencies have reduced. Okowa ‘s populist policies have endeared him to Deltans. He is a leader with tremendous goodwill across the three senatorial districts of the state .Okowa has no rival. He will emerge victorious in the 2019 governorship elections.” On political appointments, the female Commissioner said the Okowa government was gender sensitive. I’ll transform Ora community – Baale Ogungbesan Ora community in Eredo Local Council Develop ment Area of Lagos State is to be repositioned. The Baale, Chief Oriyomi Peter Ogungbesan told Saturday Vanguard in his Odo-Ora Palace recently that he would harness all the resources in his domain to transform it to a mega community. He said that all achievements so far was a result of the support of Council of Obas and Chiefs, government, CDA and all other well meaning personalities in his domain. Chief Ogungbesan said he was determined to increase the population of the community and encourage other economic and social activities. The community, royal fathers, the executive chairman, Erodo Local Council Development Area, Hon. Saliu Adeniyi Rasaq expressed his unimaginable stride by the community leader, championing the frontiers of his community development in area of security, electrification, amongst others. Hon. Rasaq said, he would lay the foundation of the first Millennium Estate of its kind in Ora Community by March during the Ora Day an initiative of Olu-Ora.

SATURDAY Vanguard, MARCH 3, 2018—9