NDDC awards multi-million contract to Amaechi’s wife, other alleged unqualified contractors – Report

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The Media Advocacy West Africa Foundation – MAWA Foundation has uncovered how the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), an agency established to facilitate development of the Niger Delta, is involved in the act of corruption in the way it manages the oil revenue meant for community development.

In the Investigations carried out, across the six states in Niger-Delta, covering Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Edo, Delta, Cross –Rivers, and Delta, MAWA Foundation uncovered how procurement processes in the NDDC are characterised by corruption leading to the award of road construction to unqualified and fake companies, action residents say is responsible for abandoned and poor project execution across communities in the region.

Abuse and violation of procurement laws and procedures have continued to be a common practice in the operation of NDDC, and this is even as the Public Procurement Act, 2007 and Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 criminalize the award of contracts in violation of procurement law.

Section 58 of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 makes it offence with offenders liable to five or 10 years imprisonment for awarding contracts without due process and in line with the law. While section 38 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 makes it an offence for contracts that are not awarded in compliance with procurement rules.

In the field visits to six Niger-Delta States to inspect NDDC projects, MAWA Foundation found abandoned and poorly executed projects cross communities.

The Niger Delta Development Commission – NDDC in what appears a breach of procurement laws, awarded a multi-million road construction to an unqualified company that deals in poultry and has nothing to do with civil engineering or other forms of construction.

Under the deal, NDDC awarded the construction of Nonwa-Bunutai-Afam Ukwu –Afam NTA Road to Jocarl Investment Limited at the sum of N1, 027,724,775.00 and paid N916, 755,934.83 as the contract fee, leaving the sum of N144, 257,640.00 unaccounted, 2008-2018 NDDC audit carried out by the Auditor-General shows.

This is even as documents obtained from Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) by MAWA Foundation in a response to FOI request regarding the Jocarl Investment Limited status, show the company does not deal in civil engineering and construction.

Worse still, online checks by MAWA, show Jorcal Investment Limited on its Facebook is a company that deals in poultry. When MAWA sought the company’s explanation regarding the contract award, its official who spoke on the telephone, said the company deals in poultry and has nothing to do with road construction. Denying its involvement in the contract, the official said” as a matter of fact, Jocarl is not a construction company, it is a poultry company, we deal in breeding chicks for people that are rearing fowls and sell eggs”.

Two procurement experts who spoke to MAWA said the award of road construction to a company that prides itself as a Poultry Company by the NDDC shows the commission did not follow due process in the contract award and selection of the contractor. And, this is even as the Procurement Act 2007 and Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, are both legislations that criminalize breach of procumbent process in Nigeria.

The company that was registered on December 14, 2000, with its operational office at No.9 Eastern Byepass Ogbunabali in Port Harcourt the Rivers State capital, has Mr. Amaechi Lemchi, Mr. Amaechi Obinna, Mr. Amaechi Chikampa, and Mrs. Amaechi Judith Obiajulu as Directors.

A check on the Directors of the company shows it belongs to Mrs. Amaechi Judith Obiajulu, the wife of Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, the former Rivers State Governor and the current Nigeria Minister of Transportation.

When MAWA contacted Mr. David Iyofor, the Chief Press Secretary to Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, who is the husband to Amaechi Judith Obiajulu, who owns Jocarl Investment Limited, he declined to comment.

When MAWA officials visited the project site located at Tai-Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State, we found the project was completed and delivered about six years ago.

A group of community residents led by Mr. Tanko who prefers only his first name mentioned said the road that links about six communities was completed and delivered to the community about six years ago.

West End Avenue Road poorly constructed, funds diverted

The construction of West End Avenue, off Rumuoba Siolu Street Psychiatric Hospital Road at Rumuigbo community in Obio Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, by the NDDC, was poorly executed, MAWA Foundation visit to the project site uncovered.

The NDDC on February 22, 2011, awarded the project to Etworx Nigeria Limited, a company registered on September 28, 2009, at the sum of N235, 520,000.00 while the commission paid N216, 463,635.50 as the contract fee, leaving the sum of N79, 126,100.00 uncounted, 2008-2018 NDDC audit carried out by the Auditor-General shows.

The company that has its operational office located at No. 27 Chukwu Street, Rumuomasi off Stadium Road, Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, has Bala Usman, Ajie Osinclair, Suleiman Ibrahim Dande and Akinola Oladele Onamade as Directors.

A group of community residents, led by Mr. John Okoro, in interaction with MAWA officials, disclosed that the road was completed and delivered six years ago. They, however, showed concern, although the road was delivered, it was poorly executed.

In a similar narrative, the NDDC on May 27, 2010, awarded the construction of Chief Umeh Street off Ada George Road in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital to Messrs Silver Brook Investment Limited at the sum of N98,730,030.00 and paid N93,793,528.00 leaving N4,936,502 unaccounted, 2008-2018 NDDC audit carried out by the Auditor-General shows.

When MAWA official visited the community, a group of residents led by Mr. Lulu, in an interaction, said the project was completed and delivered over five years ago. And, are happy they now have an access road.

NDDC awards contracts to unqualified companies in Cross Rivers, divert funds

The NDDC in what appears an abuse of procurement process in the selection of contractors and award of contracts awarded the construction of Effiom Bassey Layout in Calabar, the Cross Rivers capital to Alphadot Global Prospect Limited, a company that has plant and equipment management as its principal activities, documents obtained from the CAC show.

The company that has Okohie Chinedu Jacinta and Anyanwu Chima Ken as its Directors has its operational office at Agip Estate, Rumueme in Port Harcourt and was registered on February 27, 2007.

In the deal, NDCC on February 11, 2011, awarded the contract at the sum of N249, 993,432.50 and paid N224, 161,699.26 as the contract fee, leaving N114, 957,866.75 uncounted, 2008-2018 NDDC audit carried out by the Auditor-General shows.

It is not, however, clear how the NDDC undertook a procurement process leading to the award of road construction worth millions of naira to a company that has no capacity and has anything to do with road construction.

MAWA Foundation’s visit to the project site found it has since been abandoned while community residents continue to lament over the deplorable nature of the road.

Mr. Ekpenyong Leonard, a community resident speaking to MAWA official, said the road was awarded 15 years ago and has since been abandoned. He narrated how one of the landlords in the area made attempt to repair the road but was stopped by the state government.

“This road was awarded and has been abandoned since 15 years ago, we do not know why the contractor should leave it unexecuted, but we are not surprised, it a way of NDDC projects, they are nothing but corruption”, Leonard said.

Community residents took MAWA officials around the road and showed the deplorable nature of how vehicles find it difficult using the route while residents usually repair it using community labour.

About 15 of the residents that spoke to MAWA officials had a similar narrative that accused the NDDC of corruption and diverting monies meant for development in the community.

One of the female respondents who did not want her name mentioned, described NDDC as a conduit corruption pipe established by the government to settle political errand boys.

“The irony is that they will tell you that NDDC was established to enable development in the Niger –Delta, look around, do you see any development, the poor are suffering huge infrastructural decay while the custodian of their wealth are living in wealth they acquired through corruption and unforgivable fraud”.

In another act that appears to be tainted with corruption that points to abuse of procurement laws and processes, documents obtained from CAC show the NDDC awarded a contract for the construction of drainages to Dewfirstplus Limited, a website design and software development company.

Under the deal, the NDDC on May 31, 2012, awarded the construction of drainages on Kings Streets in Calabar South area of Cross Rivers state to Dewfirstplus Limited at the sum of N150, 000,000.00 and paid N135, 046,974.75 as the contract fee, leaving N30, 537,219.75 uncounted, 2008-2018 NDDC audit carried out by the Auditor-General shows.

Mr. Michael Osanya, a procurement expert who spoke to MAWA, expressing his disappointment, said in a situation where due process was followed in the procurement process, it is impossible to award such a contract to a website design company, and worst still the NNDC ignored competency and professionalism and gave such a contract to an unqualified company.

The company that was registered on January 13, 2011 with operational office at No. 179 Glodie Street, Calabar, has Etim Augustine Umo, Ekpenyong Esien as Directors and Ndukwe Kalu Ndukwe as Secretary.

However, MAWA Foundation visit to the project site shows it was poorly constructed with stench odour coming out from the uncovered drainage constituting health hazard to the residents.

Residents who spoke to MAWA officials expressed concern over the poor work with particular focus on the dirty water flowing in the drainage which they say breeds mosquito that leads to malaria infection.

Mr. Uduak Bassey, a community resident who described the project as uncompleted, appealed to the NDDC authority to order the contractor back to the site and ensure all the drainages are covered with concrete slabs, an action he said will save residents from health hazards the open drainages expose them.

Following a pattern of trend, the NDDC on June 8, 2005, awarded the construction of Ugep-Idomi to Messrs Henteco Associates Nigeria Limited at the sum of N459, 848,139.00 and paid N245, 816,993.48 as the contract fee, leaving N130, 854,958.73 uncounted, 2008-2018 NDDC audit carried out by the Auditor-General shows.

When MAWA officials visited Yakurr Local Government Area of Cross Rivers State, the project location, residents say the project that ought to be construction of a new road was rehabilitated.

Mr. Eunice Halim, a community resident who spoke to MAWA officials, said the road construction has helped boost economic viability in the area.

Striking another deal, NDDC on December 10, 2004, awarded the construction of Odukpani – Akim Road in the Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross Rivers to Messrs Zenith Nigeria Limited at the price of N1,002,278,079.00 and paid N190,250,072.85 as the contract fee, leaving N39,908,361.00 unaccounted, 2008-2018 NDDC audit carried out by the Auditor-General shows.

When MAWA Foundation officials visited, Odukpani community, we found the road has been completed. However, community residents raised concern that the road that was completed and delivered last year has begun tearing off with potholes, with the inhabitants accusing the contractor of a poorly executed project.

“This road was just completed and delivered to the community last year, a few months after, some portions are already bad with potholes” Isidore Akpan, a community resident told MAWA official.

Unqualified company gets multi-million contract, abandoned project in Delta

The NDDC in what appears a shocking example of corruption that has helped undermine development in the Niger-Delta region has been caught in the act of awarding a multi-million contract to an unqualified company in Delta State.

Under the deal, NDDC on May 31, 2012, awarded the construction of Egodo – Ogbeingbene road at the Burutu area of Delta State to Messrs Chesa Nigeria Limited at the sum of N1, 044,098,500.00. This is even as checks on the Chesa status from the CAC, shows it was not registered to carry out road construction.

Despite Messrs Chesa Nigeria Limited not being a qualified company for the job, the NDDC has since gone ahead to award a multi-million naira road construction project to her.

Action experts who spoke to MAWA, say NDDC breached procurement laws by selecting an unqualified company to execute a job that requires expertise and professionalism.

“Go and study Nigerian procurement laws, you will find that in virtually all NDDC contract awards, they either select a ghost or a fake company, that is a breach of Nigerian laws, those who are behind it ought to be jailed when found guilty”, Mr. Sam, a lawyer with Femi Falana Chambers told MAWA

The company that has its operation office located at No. 160 Ojuelegba Road, Surulere Lagos, and was registered on August 21, 2011, has Chukwu Rose, Chukwu Emmanuel, Chukwu Anthony as both Directors and shareholders.

When MAWA officials visited the project site, we found that the project has been abandoned and contractors have since left the site leaving behind obsolete equipment.

In different narratives, the community residents recounted how the contractor has since abandoned the project a long time ago. Mr. Saikibo Daniel, who led community residents that spoke to MAWA, said the project has since been abandoned years ago.

“When we saw contractors moved equipment to the site, we were very happy that the long-suffering we had experienced on the road will be addressed following the road construction, to our surprise, shortly after the project was commenced, the contractors abandoned it and left,” Daniel said.

Some group of farmers led by Mr. Osekene told MAWA officials that the abandoned road is very fundamental to the economic viability of the area and have since appealed to the NDDC authority to order contractors back to the site.

Fake, unqualified companies get multi-million contract in Bayelsa, diverts funds

The NDDC in what appears a common practice in the violation of procurement laws and procedures, awarded billion naira road construction to unqualified and fake companies in Bayelsa State.

This is even as such act is a breach of the Procurement law that attracts up to 10 years imprisonment when found guilty.

Perfecting the deal, the commission awarded the construction of Odi-Trofani Road (Phase 1 and Phase 2) located in the Sagbama Local Government Area of the Bayelsa at the sum of N5, 452,063,616.00 to Elka Nigeria Limited and paid N5,415, 250,582.84 as the contract fee, leaving N49,843,780.41 unaccounted, 2008-2018 NDDC audit carried out by the Auditor-General shows.

This is even as documents obtained from the CAC regarding the company status, show it has no role linking it to civil engineering, let alone road construction.

The award of a billion naira contract to a company that has no role in road construction appears that the NDDC did not carry out due diligence in the contract award and has since contracted an unqualified company to undertake a job that requires professional expertise to execute.

The company that has its operational office at No. 10 Eriebe Street, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has Okorie Kelechi, Olumuyiwa Adeoye, Kassis Elie as Directors.

MAWA Foundation’s visit to the project site shows that the project was poorly executed with many portions of the road having potholes that put the lives of its user at risk.

A group of Odi and Trofani communities’ residents led by Mr. Tamuno Joshua, in interaction with MAWA Foundation officials, said they are happy over the road, pointing out how it has helped farmers in the area to convey their farm produce to market that allows for a maximum profit-making. A development they said was impossible without an access road.

In another compromised deal, the NDDC in the practice of what appears a common act of corruption that characterizes its operation awarded a million naira project to a fake company that does not exist.

Under the deal, the commission on August 10, 2010, awarded road rehabilitation at Elebele community in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State to Messrs Beks Kmse Nigeria Limited at the sum of N221, 295,900.00.

Worse still, documents obtained from the CAC in response to FOI request regarding the status of Beks Kmse, show the company is fake does not exist.

However, a visit to the Elebele community in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State by MAWA Foundation shows no such project was carried out in the area, while the purported construction was seen in a deplorable condition with residents lamenting.

Mr. Geseye Samson a community resident who spoke to MAWA officials said no construction was carried out in the area.

Miss Chika Chima, a community resident, speaking to MAWA together with another group of women, accused NDDC of diverting monies meant for community development through fake and inflation of contract figures.

“It is not new to us, we know what NDDC does is to steal monies meant for community development while the officials live big in cities”, Chima said.

Information firm gets solar installation job, billion naira contract given to a fake company, funds diverted  

In an example of what appears a compromise in the procurement process and selection of a contractor, the NDDC awarded the installation of Solar Street light to an information service company.

In the deal, NDDC awarded a contract for the installation of Solar Powered Street Light in Uquo Community at Esit Eket Local Government Area of Akwa-Ibom State to Danas Contracting Supplies Limited.

It is unclear how the commission undertook a procurement process that led to the award of solar light installation to an information company.

This is even as documents obtained from the CAC in an FOI response regarding the status of Danas Contracting Supplies Limited show it has information service as a principal business. An indication that shows the NDDC may have compromised in awarding solar light installation to a company that lacks the expertise to carry out such a project.

Mr. Joseph Ndikam a Renewable Energy expert, who claims to have provided solar energy solutions across communities in Nigeria, who shared expert opinion with MAWA, said such projects are meant for experts and not quacks. And, wondered why NDDC will award a contract that requires professionalism and expertise to a company that has no capacity to deliver.

The award of the contract to Danas, suggests, the NDDC did not carry out standard procurement procedure in selecting contractors, an action that is largely responsible for a huge number of substandard projects carried out by the commission that are found in many Niger-Delta communities.

The Danas Company that has its operational office at No. 80 James Town Road, Uquo – Esit Eket, Akwa-Ibom has Ikpegbu Uduak Akpan and Akpanusoh as Directors.

When MAWA officials visited the community, we found that many of the Solar street lights have since stopped working.

A group of community residents led by Mr. Elder Akpan Okon who spoke to MAWA officials said that a major challenge facing the project since completion is lack of maintenance, a reason they say is responsible for why many of the Solar Street Lights have since stopped working.

In another shady deal, the NDDC awarded a billion naira road construction contract to a fake company that does not exist.

Perfecting the deal, NDDC awarded the construction of Odoro Enin-Ikot Usekong-Uqua – Isiedoho road located at Eket-Esit area of Akwa Ibom State to Messrs MPHASIS Limited at the sum of N1, 911,451,549 and paid N1, 665,602,771 as contract fee leaving N310,619,463 unaccounted, 2008-2018 NDDC audit carried out by the Auditor-General shows.

In a response to FOI request demanding the status of Messrs MPHASIS Limited, a company that was awarded the contract, CAC says it has no record of the company, an indication that shows it is fake and does not exist.

When MAWA officials visited the project site, it found that the road section in Ikot Usekong community has been completed while that of the Uqua Isi Edoho is still under construction.

A group of community members led by Mr. Isemin Monday, in interaction with MAWA Foundation, said they are worried that the Ikot Usekong road that is under construction is likely to be abandoned.

Corroborating the community fear, the contractor we met on site complained that lack of funds, frequent rainfall, and payment of compensation are the main reasons that have delayed the project completion.

When MAWA visited Ukana, Ikot Ntuen community, we found that N100, 000,000.00 Solar Street installation awarded to Lansea Construction and Engineering Limited in 2013 has been completed and delivered.

This is even as the community residents told MAWA officials that the project is a waste and they have not benefited from it.

A group of community residents led by Mr. Umoh Akan, who spoke to MAWA, said the Solar Street Lights have stopped working since two years ago. They accused the NDDC of delivering such a project to them without any maintenance and sustainability plan.

NDDC awards multi-million contract to a fake, unqualified company in Edo, diverts funds

The MAWA Foundation has uncovered how the NDDC in disregard to procurement laws awarded road construction to a company that is unqualified and has no such capacity to deliver and to another that is fake.

Under the deal, NDDC on May 27, 2010, awarded the construction of Agbede – Jagbe road at the Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo state to Messrs Prospective Multilink Limited at the sum of N249, 746,530.00 and paid N229, 545,457.28 as the contract fee, leaving N2, 490,284.00 unaccounted, 2008-2018 NDDC audit carried out by the Auditor-General shows.

However, in documents made available to MAWA in a response to FOI’s request, Prospective Multilink Limited, a company that got a contract award for road construction has no record of civil engineering role but, rather has other personal services activities as its principal business role. An indication that shows, in a situation standard procurement process was observed and followed in selecting a suitable company for the project, Multilink Limited will not be successful as it has no requirements to deliver on such role.

This is even as the Nigeria Procurement Act 2007, requires a competitive bidding process that will lead to the selection of a qualified and competent company that allows for effective job delivery that gives value for money. A provision the NDDC has since ignored and awarded a contract for road construction to a quack company that has no such capacity.

The company that was registered on November 7, 2005, with its operation office at No. 21 Aba Road, Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital has Mr. Baba Saliu Egele Abdul-Hamid, Mr. Baba Saliu Egele Sule, and Keminetu Baba Saliu Egele as Directors.

When MAWA officials visited the community, we found that only 3 kilometres of the road were constructed while the rest portion has since been abandoned.

A group of community residents led by Mr. Momoh John, in interaction with MAWA officials, appealed to the NDDC authority to return and complete the project which they say is central to the economic viability of the place especially as it connects many villages together.

In a similar trend, MAWA uncovered how the NDDC awarded road construction to a fake company that does not exist. In the arrangement, the commission awarded the construction of Ogumwenyin-Aruogba link at Oredo Local Government Area of Edo to Messrs Heavenly Merchant Company Limited at the sum of N147,900,000 and paid N144,053,280, leaving N24,349,400 unaccounted, 2008-2018 NDDC audit carried out by the Auditor-General shows.

In a response to FOI request regarding the status of Messrs Heavenly Merchant Company Limited, CAC says it has no record of the company. An indication that shows it is fake and does not exist.

Worse still, the NDDC in violation of section 58 of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 that provides five or 10 years imprisonment for awarding contracts without due process awarded road construction to a fake and none existing company.

When MAWA Foundation visited the community, we found that the road construction was started but had been abandoned while the contractors had left the site.

A group of community residents led by Mr. Roland Akharameh, who spoke to MAWA officials, narrated how the contractor handling the road project had moved away equipment since January 2021.

Lamenting the health implication associated with the project that has since been abandoned, residents say the high volume of dust they inhale as a result of the bad road is causing them terminal disease, and have threatened to embark on a protest if the contractor doesn’t return to the site and complete the road.

In another shady deal, NDDC awarded the construction of Lawani Street, Upper Mission Road in Benin the Edo State capital to Messrs Tossi Equipment Company Limited at the sum of N694,335,515.00 and paid N108,150,327.25, leaving N68,692,877.27 unaccounted, 2008-2018 NDDC audit carried out by the Auditor-General shows.

A visit to the project site by MAWA officials revealed it was poorly executed, some members of the community, led by Mr. Osato David took MAWA officials around to inspect the road and pointed how it is already riddled with potholes a few months after its completion.

NDDC, Government Refuse to Respond

MAWA Foundation in an effort to get an official response from the authority, wrote to the NDDC and Ministry of Finance, asking for an explanation over the award of multi-million contracts to fake and unqualified companies by the NDDC across the Niger-Delta community, a request both the Commission and Finance Ministry have since refused to answer.

Common Trends in NDDC Contracts

In our investigations into the contracts awarded by the NDDC in projects across communities in Niger – Delta, we found  common trends that are as follows:

  • Notorious breach of procurement laws in contract awards

  • Contracts are awarded to fake and unqualified companies

  • Monies diverted, exact contract amounts not paid to contractors

  • Projects are abandoned, and poorly executed

  • Community members not consulted before awarding projects

  • No community ownership of projects

  • Communities are shortchanged

This report was produced by MAWA-Foundation in partnership with Results for Development-R4D

 

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