The multi-purpose secretariat complex allegedly awarded to the Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has come to public criticism as it was purported that the bidding and award process of the N13.6 billion project to one Dr. Osakwe Osadebe, is an alleged monumental fraud ahead of 2019 governorship election.
It was gathered that due process was jettisoned in the biding and awards process of the project to North China Construction Group Limited (NCCG), a company with merely N20 million as share capital and a Nigeria registered company masquerading as a Chinese firm fronting for the governor.
It was also learnt that the company used as a conduit pipe has no records of any major project it has executed.
An investigation unearth the registration number of the company as RC 1113315, with the Corporate Affairs Commission and is allegedly being managed by the said Osadebe Osakwe, a former Manager with Zenith Bank who was alleged to have spent heavily during the 2015 election for Okowa’s emergence as governor of the state.
Competent source disclose that those allegedly involved in the fraud act include; Governor Okowa, Dr. Osakwe Osadebe of North China Construction Company Nigeria Limited, Fan Yong Sheng who is reported to be the fictitious Secretary of North China, Festus Ovie Agas, Secretary to the State Government, Henry Sakpra, Commissioner for Special Duties, Government House and Okowa’s sister Ivana Shenton.
The governor while seeking the ratification of the project by the State House of Assembly, sought the assembly’s approval for N13.6 billion as running cost for the project.
The authorization included the considered approved decision by the Exco directing that the project be financed by way of borrowing the sum of N8 billion, money equivalent to $18.5million.
According to him, the government is expected to guarantee the loan of N8 billion to be obtained by NCCG from the United Bank of Africa (UBA) and to issue irrevocable Standing Payment Orders (ISPOs).
Impeccable sources noted that N1.2 billion is the state’s government contribution for the project from the N8 billion as the contractor was supposed to obtain the N8 billion naira loan but the state ended up doing so for the company because the company had no credibility to acquire such amount.
It was also gathered that NCCG receives a minimum of N102, 000, 000 to up to N245, 836, 289.64 monthly from the Internally Generated Revenue, (IGR) through a designated account with the Delta State Board of Internal Revenue.
Reliable sources said, Mr. Henry Sakpra the Commissioner for Special Duties, Government House who is supervising the project, recently paid N20 million as the cost of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) with a Sterling Bank cheque, for what an engineer said should not have been more than N3 million.
Following petition by some concern Deltans to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), officials of the anti-graft agency will soon visit Delta state to question the state Accountant-General, SSG, Okowa’s sister Ivana Shenton, Henry Sakpra and others, over their role in the alleged contract inflation and fraud.
But in his response to a question put to him at the last quarterly media interaction, Okowa denied having link with NCCG.
Said Okowa: “In the first instance, I don’t know how many of us that has been to that new secretariat that is being built? I’m sure you are proud of what that is going on there. If Doctor Okowa had the competence to own a company to build that kind of house that is being built, I would have been very proud of myself.
“The company is not hidden, it is a Chinese Company and those who went with us there, saw the Chinese who were there, but one thing I must thank them for is that, out of the over 160 people who are working in that project, only 11 of them were brought from China, the other 150 were Nigerians working on that site and the level of work and organization, the quality of the work is something we must be proud of.
Continuing, Okowa said, “If you get there and you find out that I have that kind of company; probably I am part of the Chinese government, but actually is a Chinese owned firm, possibly I am part of the Chinese hierarchy now, that means I must be a very big man and Deltans should be proud of me. If I have that level of connection in China, then I am sure that I would have been able to do much more for Deltans. I wish I could but I am not”.
But a top government official in the ministry of finance who pleaded anonymity said that the governor is allegedly the man behind the mask, stressing “The contractor is entrenched in fraud and the governor is culpable”.
In his words: Firstly, there was no competitive bidding for the project. The project was made specifically to siphon money by the governor for his reelection that is why it was shrouded in secrecy and in a close circle of the above mentioned people.
“There was no advertisement for qualified bidders, what the governor and his cronies did was to assemble names of some unregistered companies as bidders, there after selected NCCG as preferred bidder.
“The contract was grossly inflated and the financing was also fraudulent as documents submitted suggested that the State Government was obtaining the 8 billion Naira loan on behalf of NCCG.
“The registration of the company suggested that NCCG was incapable of handling contract of such magnitude since it only has N20, 000,000 in shares capital. Also let’s not forget that the company is a virgin company that was registered in 2013 and they have no record of any job executed in Nigeria or their supposed extension in Beijing yet Delta State awarded them a contract worth N13.6 billion.
The Chinese person on the registration of the company with CAC, including Wu Guoqi, Zheng Gang, Yi Yugang, Chen Cangku and Lin Bob. Fang Yong Sheng the suppose Secretary is completely made up as none of such people exist or control any share of the company.