Community Demands Probe Of NDDC

Ughelli map

Ndokwa local councils of Delta State.<br />

FOR allegedly abandoning the N2.4 billion contract for the construction of the 23 kilometre Agbarho Township Roads with Comprehensive Drainage project after the disbursement of the sum of N720.7 million to Messer Serena Rocks Limited, the leaders of Agbarho Kingdom, Ughelli North Local Council of Delta State have urged the federal government to institute a probe into the activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

In a letter jointly signed by the Osuivie of Agbarho Kingdom, Andrew Okpalefe III, President General of Agbarho Urhobo Improvement Union, Chief John Gbenedio and Maj. Gen. O. E. Obada (rtd), and addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, they claimed that the contract was awarded in 2009 by the NDDC. Osuivie, Gbenedio and Obada wrote that after a long process of securing presidential approval for funding of the project in 2011, the contractor (Serena Rocks Limited) was paid N360.7m being 15 per cent mobilisation fee to commence work on the project.

The community leaders said that in 2012, the contractor received another payment of N360 million payment for the same project with nothing to show on ground but were later told that the project design did not include stone-base and drainage, even though in NDDC approval budget for 2011 and 2012, the project was captioned ‘Construction of Agbarho Township Road with Comprehensive Drainage.’

They alleged: “All efforts by our community leaders to get the contractor to execute the project has met brick wall and NDDC is not forthcoming with information. NDDC officials confirmed to us that over N688 milion is in custody of the contractor for over five years without any job done on the project.”

The trio noted that from a search conducted at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Abuja, it was discovered that all the three directors of the company were foreigners (Imad Aoun, Laurent Aoun and Jean Aoun) who only paid and filed the annual returns of the company in 2009. They further alleged: “It was also discovered that the three directors of the company curiously applied to have their signatures changed in the year 2010 after the award of the contract and the said application was granted. The search also revealed that the company only paid and filed its returns in 2009 which was the year of award of the contract and has since not paid nor filed its returns which is a further confirmation of the company’s ploy to defraud NDDC and the Agbarho people.”

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