The Senate yesterday set machinery in motion to investigate the alleged failed N2.4billion project, which was said to have been awarded by Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in Delta State in 2009.
Following a petition to this effect which the upper legislative chamber received, it yesterday directed its committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, to investigate the project, which is a 2.3km Agbarho township road project in Delta State.
Note that a petition from the Agbarho (Urhobo) Improvement Union Incorporated, which was addressed to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, was received yesterday and presented on the floor of the upper chamber by the Senator representing Delta Central Senatorial District, Senator Ighoyota Amori.
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who stood in for Saraki therefore asked the Senate ethics committee to investigate the alleged fraud and report back to the senate within four weeks.
In the petition, signed by their President-General, Chief John Gbenedio, and Major General O.E. Obadia, the group alleged that the contractors failed to execute the project despite the fact that the firm had collected N720 million as mobilisation fee.
According to the group, the contractors, Messrs Serena Rocks Limited collected the first mobilisation fee of N360m in 2011 and another N360m mobilisation fee in 2012 without mibilising men and materials to site.
They lamented that all efforts by community leaders to get the contractors execute the project since then had been unsuccessful as the management of the NDDC were not forthcoming with any information.
“NDDC officials also confirmed to us that over N668m is in custody of the the contractors for over five years now without any job done on the project”, they stated.
The Urhobo group noted with concern that the search conducted by it at the Corporate Affairs Commission in Abuja revealed that all the three directors on the company are foreigners, namely, Imed Aoun; Laurent Aoun and Joan Aoun, who only paid and filed the annual return of the company in 2009.
They alleged further that all the three directors curiously applied to have their signatures changed in 2010 after the award of the contract and that the CAC granted their application.
The petitioners also alleged that further search at the CAC also indicated that the contractors deliberately defrauded the country because it paid and filed for its returns in 2009 which was the year that the contract was awarded.
They therefore urged the senate to Institute a probe into the activities of the NDDC in the previous years to unearth other frauds because the agency had not made necessary impacts in the lives of the people in their mandate area despite the huge funds allocated to it.