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: