Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

Osinbajo orders probe of contract fraud claim in water ministry

• Ministry: it’s cheap blackmail

The Vice President, Prof  Yemi Osinbajo has directed immediate investigation into allegations of contract fraud in Cross River Basin Development Authority (CRBDA), an agency of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources.

The directive is contained in a letter addressed to the managing director of an indigenous engineering firm, Coasterners Engineering and Building Services Limited, Kola Adegoke, acknowledging the receipt of petitions written by Adegoke’s company.

A letter marked: SH/OVP/DCOS/Legal/Misc, written to Osinbajo’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Vice President, Ade Ipaye, he acknowledged receipt of the petitions by Coasterners, including one in which it accused the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) of compromising investigation into one of its complaints.

Ipaye said: “I am directed by His Excellency, Prof Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria to acknowledge receipt of your letters dated 10th October 2016 and 14th November 2016 on the above and related subjects.

“I am also to inform you that your submissions have been forwarded to the appropriate authorities for further consideration and necessary action.”

In one of its recent petitions to Osinbajo, Coatsterners alleged contract racketeering in the CRBDA. The petition  painted a situation where most contracts awarded in the agency are in violation of the Public Procurement Act.

The petitioner accused the management of CRBDA of penalising it for its whistle-blowing activities by deliberately starving it of necessary funds to execute contracts awarded it, a move allegedly calculated to frustrate it. Coasterners also accused CRBDA of withholding funds due to it for projects executed.

The Water Resources Ministry has however faulted allegations made against CRBDA, accusing Coasterners of among others, acting with the intention of blackmailing its agencies. The ministry’s position is contained in a letter marked: FMWR/LU/S/292/1/34, titled: “Harassment of the CRBDA by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Coasterners Group Ltd.”

Part of the letter authored by the ministry’s Director, Legal Services, Gboyega Oyekanmi reads: “The ministry’s attention has been drawn to your frantic efforts to malign the name and integrity of the management and staff of the CRBDA by making spurious and unfounded allegations against them as evidence in the correspondences under reference.”

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