EFCC re-opens investigation on N21.7bn IPP project

The Economic and Financal Crimes Commission (EFCC) has reopened probe into an Independent Power Plant (IPP) project contract in Oghara, Delta State, valued at N21,740,000,000.

The move followed a fresh petition by a youth group, Empowerment for Unemployed Youth Initiative, headed by Charles Adodo. He said that the group is planning to protest the delay in investigating its petition in Abuja and Delta State.

A source at the anti-graft agency said the commission has reopened investigation into the alleged non-execution of the IPP project. He disclosed that there were also petitions from two elders of the party on the matter. Spokesman for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, neither denied nor confirmed the alleged reopening of investigation into the matter.

Giving insight into the allegation, the source said the contract for the project was awarded by the Delta State government to an indigenous firm, Davnotch Nigeria Limited, on June 23, 2009, for the supply and installation of two Rolls of Royce Trent gas turbine generators to boost power generation and distribution in the state. It had an initial contract term of 60 per cent downpayment and completion period of 24 months.

On June 24, 2009, it accepted the offer and promised to complete the contract within the stipulated time frame and a total N1 billion was paid into its accounts in three banks on the same day.
He maintained that, subsequently, other payments were made to the same company in respect of the project. According to investigations, the total sum ofN9,829,495,000.00 has so far been paid to Davnotch Nigeria Limited.

The source explained that investigations by the EFCC revealed that the contract might have been a huge scam, as the contracting firm was directly linked to a top official in the government of Delta State. It was also alleged that at the time the contract was awarded and N1 billion paid to the firm, it was not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, due process was not followed and there was no formal agreement between the Delta State Government and Davnotch Nigeria Limited.

The EFCC commenced investigation into the contract during the tenure of Mrs. Farida Waziri as chairperson of the anti-graft agency. The investigation was ordered after a petition from a law firm, and operatives of the anti-graft agency visited the proposed site of the IPP in Oghara.

In 2010, the Delta State Elders Forum wrote a number of petitions on the same matter, which compelled the EFCC to expedite action on the matter. However, nearly eight years after the EFCC completed that investigation, no action was taken in terms of prosecuting those behind the alleged scam.

Meanwhile, source disclosed that the case file has been re-opened, in line with the policy of the present administration to recover all stolen assets and not to allow public officials get away with fraud anywhere in the country.

Similarly, Empowerment for Unemployed Youth Initiative has vowed to work hard and not relent until the matter is investigated.

Adodo said, “Our group is Empowerment for Unemployed Youth Initiative and we are concerned that the monies that were supposed to be devoted for the development of the nation are diverted to private pockets through corruption. This is one of the reasons we have a high rate of unemployment in Nigeria.

“So, this is why anytime and anywhere we find corruption, we fight it hard and we fight it with all that we have, in the best interest of the nation.

“In a nutshell, we authored that petition and we are ready to stand by it anytime we are called upon to do so. We can’t just fold our arms and let corruption ride roughshod over us.

“To the best of our knowledge, nothing has been done at the site of the Delta Independent Power Project at Oghara all these years to show that it is not a fraudulent contract.
“The contractor simply diverted the money meant for the project to his personal endeavours and to the detriment of the project and the development of the power sector.”