Contract scam: Benue drags Okupe to EFCC

The Benue State Government has finally dragged the Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Doyin Okupe to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged non performance of contract.

For over one week now, there has been accusation pointing towards Okupe on the allegation he collected mobilization fees running into over N635 million contract from the Benue State Government without executing the contract.
Though the state government initially was reluctant to follow up the matter, it has finally taken the bull by its horns and reported the matter to EFCC.
The Commissioner for Works and Transport, Mr. Benjamin Ashaver, while speaking with newsmen yesterday, disclosed that the state government had reported the matter to the EFCC, with the aim of recovering the balance on advance payment for the contract that Okupe’s company failed to execute for the state government.
Ashaver, who made documents available to journalists, explained that Okupe’s firm was yet to return over N635.7 million to the coffers of the state government on the shoddy job it did in 2004.
Even though the state Governor, Dr. Gabriel Suswam, last weekend told journalists in an interview that his hands were tied as far as the matter was concerned, Ashaver vowed that the present administration would recover the balance of N635.7million from the president’s aide.
Suswam, in an interview with newsmen in Otukpo last weekend, had said he would not be able to say anything about the matter.
According to him, his predecessor, Senator George Akume, did not give him any hand over note when he assumed office in 2007.
The turn of event is, however, shrouded in uncertainty as Ashaver explained that Akume awarded the contract to Okupe’s company, Value Trust Investment Limited, for the construction of 230 kilometre rural roads on April 21, 2004 at the cost of N2,303,561,032.50, using loamy soil stabilization.
The government at that time made a 30 per cent advance payment of N691,068,309.75 to the contractor to commence work and by July 17, 2006, the total amount paid to the contracting company stood at N886,867,913.18.
Although the project was expected to be completed within 18 months, the dream was never realized as the amount of work done was later estimated to be worth N195,799,603.43 before the contractor was alleged to have absconded.
Daily Sun gathered that it was a herculean task before Akume’s administration could recover part of the money from the contractors’ bankers.
Only N55,285,464.78 was recovered, while the amount standing against the contractors from the advance payment was put at N691,068,309.75.
The commissioner stated that due to non-performance, the contractors had been reported to EFCC for the recovery of the balance on the advance payment of N635,782,844.97 due to the Benue State Government.

CREDIT – Daily Sun.

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