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N60bn Sale Proceeds: EFCC Probes Amaechi by kahal29: 5:05am

• Writes Rivers finance ministry, Accountant General demanding details of contracts

By Doris Obinna

THE Economic and Financial Crimes Com­mission (EFCC) has com­menced a probe of im­mediate past governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi, based on a peti­tion from a Port Harcourt-based group, The Integrity Group.

The commission will beam its searchlight on some of Amaechi’s projects executed while in office.

Acting on a July 29 peti­tion, the EFCC has already written to the Permanent Secretary of the state’s Min­istry of Finance and the Ac­countant General to furnish it with details on the proj­ects being investigated.

The group’s petition al­leged that the state’s electric power projects were sold and proceeds converted to other uses, adding that about N60 billion, being proceed from the sale of the power projects was paid to three companies in Port Harcourt. It alleged that the transfer of the funds was done within one week, between Decem­ber 1, 2014 and December 8, 2014.

The group equally al­leged in the petition that the proposed Karibi Whyte Specialist Hospital, Port Harcourt, had cost Rivers State about N4.63 billion but failed.

Also, The Integrity Group accused Amaechi of ap­pointing a firm of tax con­sultants, that was allegedly collecting 12 per cent of taxes collected, on a much lower monthly collection target of N2.5 billion, as against the five per cent ad­ministrative cost enjoyed by Rivers State Internal Rev­enue Service, in accordance with the law.

It said the state’s rev­enue service was generating about N7.5 billion revenue before the tax consultants came in.

While reacting to the peti­tions, in three letters, dated August 31, 2015, the EFCC asked the Ministry of Fi­nance and Accountant Gen­eral of the state to furnish it with details of the projects the petitioners complained about.

Signed by Olufunke Adetayo-Ogunbode, Head, Economic Governance, the EFCC asked the Permanent Secretary, to explain certain things relating to the sale of the state power projects and Karibi Whyte Special­ist Hospital, which was handled by Clinoriv Spe­cialist Hospital and Leisure Limited.

The EFCC letters to the Permanent Secretary, Min­istry of Finance, on the sale of the power projects, entitled: “Investigation ac­tivities: Sale of state power projects,” stated: “The Commission is investigat­ing a case of conspiracy, abuse of office and fraud.

“In view of the above, you are kindly requested to furnish the following: (i) Details of all the assets sold to the NG Power-HPS Limited

(ii) Total amount received and the account it was paid into

(iii) Sales agreement/ memorandum of under­standing,

(iv) House of Assembly resolution/approval,

(v) Investments made from the proceeds if any,

(vi) Documents indicating due process and

(vii) Any other informa­tion that will assist the Com­mission in its investigation.”

On the Karibi Whyte Spe­cialist Hospital, the EFCC, in the letter, requested the Permanent Secretary, Minis­try of Finance, to furnish the following:

(i) Memorandum of Un­derstanding with Clinoriv Specialist Hospitaland Lei­sure Limited,

(ii) Evidence of due pro­cess in the award of the con­tract,

(iii) Executive Council resolution/approval,

(iv) Total sum allocated for the project

(v) Account number and bank where the funds were paid

(vi) Status of the contract awarded to the company

(vii) Payment certificates issued/valuation reports

(viii) Contract award doc­uments and (ix) Any other information that will assist the Commission in its inves­tigation.”

Also, the letter written to the Accountant General of Rivers State, on the tax con­sultancy allegation, entitled: “Investigation Activities: Messrs Collect Nigeria Lim­ited,” the EFCC demanded the following:

(i) Details of internally generated revenue between 2007 to date,

(ii) Evidence of disburse­ment and 5 per cent retained within the period,

(iii) The MoU between the State Government and Messrs Collect Nig. Ltd

(iv) Details of due pro­cess in the award of the contract

(v) Details of payment made to Messrs Collect Nig. Ltd

(vi) House of Assembly resolution/approval

(vii) State Executives (that is, State Executive Council) resolution/ap­proval and (viii) Any other information that will assist the Commission in its in­vestigation.”

In the three letters, the EFCC stated that its de­mands for explanation were “made pursuant to Sec­tion 38 (1) and (2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Es­tablishment) Act 2004.”

As at the time of going to press, it could not be ascer­tained whether the Perma­nent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Finance and the Accountant General had re­sponded to EFCC letters.
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