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Monday, October 25, 2021
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EFCC grills Oyo Assembly officials over N1b vehicle contract

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has commenced grilling of some top officials of the Oyo State House of Assembly over a N1 billion contract.

The Nation gathered that the Deputy Clerk of the Assembly and the Director of Admin and Supplies (DAS) were arrested on Thursday and taken to the commission’s Ibadan Zonal Office, where they were questioned by its operatives throughout the day.

They were, however, released in the evening.  The Director of Finance and Accounts was said to have been interrogated on Friday.

The interrogation followed a petition by an Abuja-based lawyer and anti-corruption advocate, Tosin Ojaomo, alleging that the Speaker of the House of Assembly Adebo Ogundoyin, in connivance with top civil servants in the House, defrauded the state in a N1,031,380,000 contract to supply 33 brand new vehicles for the state lawmakers.

Ojaomo alleged that Ogundoyin; his deputy, Abiodun Fadeyi; the Director General, Bureau of Public Procurement, Ms Tara Adefope and DAS Mrs. S. K. Kolawole; Director of Finance and Accounts Mrs. B. O. Ogundipe; TM Portman Nig. Ltd. and others conspired to award the contract to TM Portman Ltd., which supplied refurbished cars instead of brand new ones. The contract was for 2019 model 33 brand new Toyota Camry cars.

The lawyer explained that Ogundoyin and other suspects fraudulently arranged the contract to favour the above company. He said the company erased the mileage of each car to present them as brand new but that the fraud was exposed when the vehicles started developing mechanical faults few days after they were supplied.

The petition read in part: “…my findings reveals a flagrant violation of procurement laws and several fraudulent practices relating to gratification in contract awards and favouritism at the Oyo State House of Assembly, which can be likened to an entrenched system of prebendalism and patrimonialism, the underhand contract fraud being perpetrated to siphon and drain the treasury of Oyo State House of Assembly is a call for serious concern and investigation to safeguard public interest…”

Ojaomo also alleged that the Speaker and his alleged accomplices inflated contract for renovation of the Speaker’s official residence to N22,809,003.81, further alleging: “The rest of the funds was diverted and shared with some government officials and their accomplices.”

The lawyer also noted that the same company was awarded the contract for the setting up of a website and supply of ICT equipment to the Assembly. He urged the commission to trace payments for the contract and determine how much went into the pockets of public officials in form of gratification out of the sum paid.

Arrest and interrogation of relevant officials will continue this week, The Nation learnt.

When contacted, the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Kazeem Olayanju, was unavailable for comments.

Source: The Nation

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