EFCC TO PROSECUTE EX-GOV.ODILI OVER N100BN LOOT …N25bn Investment In Arik Air

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is believed to be finalizing arrangements to prosecute the immediate past governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili. To this end, the anti-graft agency has assigned its officials to validate an initial report of the agency put together after an investigative process in 2006.
At the heart of the criminal misconducts thrown up by the EFCC investigative panel in 2006 is how the then governor, Dr. Odili, actively used an associate, Mr. Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide, the man famously known to be the owner of Arik Air, to loot sums estimated to be over N100billion from the treasury of the state.
The EFCC report trails the relationship between ex-Governor Odili and Mr. Arumemi-Ikhide thus:
“Prior to becoming a major contractor to the state government in 2000, Mr. Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide was a shareholder of, and an executive director in, Negris Engineering Nigeria Limited. He worked for the company for over 18 years before leaving the company as a result of misunderstanding with other management staff, to form Rockson Engineering Nigeria Limited in 2000.
“While he was still with Negris, he provided an interface between Negris and Rivers State Government during which two major contracts were secured for the company. The contracts were the supply and installation of generating sets and transformer worth N401,016,101.00. The other contract was for the supply, construction and installation of turbine power station worth N4,256,076,000.00 in 2000.
The report notes that:
“The second contract was about 60 per cent completed when Mr. Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide left Negris and suddenly became the consultant to Rivers State on the same contract using his then newly formed company, Rockson Engineering Company Limited. The remaining payments for the Negris contract were routed through his company where the sum of N734,764,749.00 is yet to be remitted to Negris.”
The report adds that:
“The incorporation of Rockson Engineering Company Limited in 2000 immediately Arumemi-Ikhide left Negris marked the beginning of siphoning huge government fund that ran into several billions of Naira through gas turbine contract scam.”
The report highlights how several billions of Naira were transferred into accounts owned by Mr. Arumemi-Ikhide:
“Rivers State Government diverted the sum of N30,031,446,589.70 at various times to account number CA 6010914407 at Zenith Bank Plc belonging to Rockson Engineering Company Limited between January 07, 2004 and December 06, 2006. Investigations also reveals that Rockson Engineering has several bank accounts with Bank PHB, Sterling Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa, First Bank Plc, Intercontinental Bank Plc and Union Bank Plc. These banks were involved in the inflated contracts between Rockson Engineering and Rivers State Government.”
The EFCC report further notes that its investigations revealed that funds were diverted from Rivers State Government’s account to Rockson Engineering Limited, where it was transferred instalmentally between March 2005 and November 2006 from bank account number 6571020007472 with Union Bank Plc to the following companies.
a. Alpha System and Commodity Company Limited—N3,957,734,700.00
b. Sea Petroleum and Gas Company-N6,623,940,500.00
c. Peg Magreet Shipping and Trading Limited -N638,320,000.00
d. Wopat Nigeria Limited – N276,100,000
e. Dairy and Livestcok Limited – N281,000,000.00
f. Arula Investment Limited – N330,000,000.000
All totaling N12,107,105,000.00.”
The investigative report made more revelations on how Mr. Aruremi-Ikhide, who the report claims has a long lasting relationship with Dr. Odili which dates back to the 1980s, was used as the main front man for Dr. Odili.
“It has also been discovered that a parallel account called Account 2, account number 0130215431600, was opened with UBA Plc in the name of Rockson Engineering. Form 2001, when the account was opened to 2002, the sum of N12,064,988,787.61 was paid into the account from the Rivers State Government. Interestingly, Mr. Arumemi-Ikhide denied knowledge of the existence of this account. So far the sum of N12,059,602,734.20 has been withdrawn from the said account. This is clear evidence of direct looting of the treasury of Rivers State,” the report asserts.

While he was still with Negris, he provided an interface between Negris and Rivers State Government during which two major contracts were secured for the company. The contract were the supply and installation of generating sets and transformer worth N401,016,101.00. The other contract was for the supply, construction and installation of turbine power station worth N4,256,076,000.00 in 2000.

In direct reference to how Arik Air was funded and established, the report explains:
“It has also been established that Arumemi-Ikhide, the business partner of the Rivers State governor, is the owner of ARIK AIR LIMITED. He used money received from the Rivers States Government to acquire all the assets and aircraft of the company estimated to be worth over N25billion.”
Further establishing a direct link between Dr. Odili, Mr. Arumemi-Ikhide and Arik Air, the report submits that:
“The political and business relationship between Dr. Odili and Mr. Arumemi-Ikhide has become more obvious since the former’s declaration to run for the Presidency. Investigations conducted at various hotels, such as Transcorp Hilton, Le Meridien, Sheraton, etc; in Abuja revealed that the Odili Campaign Organization made bookings worth N130million through his campaign management team. The money came directly from the accounts of Arik Air Limited. The origin of the money is linked directly to Mr. Arumemi-Ikhide for Dr. Odili’s campaign.

To be concluded next edition.

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YAR’ADUA AWARDS POWER PLANT CONSTRUCTION TO INDICTED COMPANIES

Nigeria, still smarting from a failed energy policy and implementation procedure during the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo presidency may yet be set for another merry-go-round in the endless search for the appropriate strategy and implementation procedure to increase capacity for electricity power generation under the administration of President Umar Musa Yar’Adua.

A probe panel empanelled by the House of Representatives, had earlier in the year roused extreme sentiments in the Nigerian public place with revelations of billions of dollars parceled out to contractors of the National Independent Power Project without commensurate result arriving from the fund used in mobilising the contractors.

Though the report of the probe panel is yet to be debated in the House, snippets of the reports and presentations during the seating of the panel had indicted a number of contractors that were said to have been mobilized but had refused to proceed on the contract implementation to appreciable level.

The general tone of the power probe and the obvious public odium it generated apparently informed incumbent president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to insist on an overhaul of the structure and model of the NIPP as envisioned by the erstwhile administration of Obasanjo.

Latest reports from the power sector indicate that appointment of two of the companies alleged to have been indicted in non performance in the controversial NIPP execution of the last regime have been selected by the Yar’Adua’s regime as contractors that would construct power plant projects in Kaduna State.

The House panel had been critical of Rockson Engineering Limited and General Electric, among other companies that received NIPP’s mobilisation funding for several jobs carried out in the Niger Delta area. The Committee said it was worried that NIPP paid Rockson Engineering limited N15, 881,489,984.50k for the Egbema Power project valued at N16, 678,677,726.20k, representing 92 percent while the work done was 19 percent while General Electric was also alleged to have been mobilised $196million without commensurate project advancement.

The panel had concluded that Rockson Engineering should be further investigated, “for incompetence, lack of execution capability and poor performance on Alaoji I, Omoku, Egbema and Gbaran-Ubie power stations and complicity in unreasonably high contract sums claimed for projects.”

Though the two companies had in a press release noted that they had been waiting for Government to strengthen the Imo River Bridge or to arrange for construction of a by-pass (ramp with jetty) for two years. They argued that both the 300 megawatt steam turbines had arrived Onne Port River State and parts already delivered to the Alaoji project site, the two turbine shell which weigh over 200 tonnes each cannot be delivered to site due to the restricted weight limit of the Imo River Bridge.

They also argued that the four (4) General Electric Frame 9E Gas Turbines are also held at Onne Port due to the same reason. They demanded that Government must resolve the issue of crossing the Imo River, which is outside their scope of work, to actualize the Alaoji Power Plant project.

Concerned stakeholders in the Niger Delta however reasoned that GE and Rockson Engineering were not able to deliver on their contract commitment and that it would disastrous to trust the two companies, owned by influential indigenous contractors with another set of contracts in the power sector.

As published on Issue 48 and submitted on http://www.fnc0486.wordpress.com