A cluster of communities of Itsekiri ethnic extraction in Warri North and Warri South-West Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Delta State under the aegis of Concerned Itsekiri Coastal Dwellers Association (CICDA) has raised the alarm over what it called fraudulent and corrupt practices by some Delta State government officials from the council areas.
The group, in a petition addressed to the United States Department of Justice, Criminal Division, stated that government officials violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of 1977 by Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) in its dealings with some officials of Delta State government, regarding making payments and the offer of job slots.
SaharaReporters obtained the petition, which was signed by the Chairman of CICDA, Mr. Rexlly Ede, and its Secretary General, Mr. Johnbull Odinma.
In their petition Mr. Ede and Mr. Odinma accused the Chairman of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), Mr. Godwin Ebosa and the Vice Chairman of Delta State Government Waterways Security Committee, Mr. Mode David Akoma of fraudulently and corruptly receiving monies from CNL to the detriment of people of the surrounding areas.
In addition, the member representing the Itsekiri ethnic nationality in DESOPADEC, Mr. Thomas Ereyitomi, and the member of the House of Assembly representing Warri North constituency were also named in the petition.
The group also disclosed that following the receipt of the money government officials are now harassing, intimidating, and coercing the residents of the communities in which Chevron operates.
According to CICDA, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act prohibits the willful use of mail, or any other means of interstate commerce, to influence any foreign official in his or her official capacity in the hopes of securing an improper advantage in order to assist in obtaining or directing business for, with, or to any person.
"In December 2015, CNL offered to give jobs to the above government officials as evidenced by the documentation which was issued and signed. Some of these jobs included the Development of SONAM FIELD Project /West African Ventures (WAV), a CNL Offshore drilling rig project, and an Offshore Catering Services Contract," CICDA stated.
An independent investigation carried out by SaharaReporters revealed that in 2011 over N15 million was deposited by Chevron into Union Bank G&A account 0036024235. The account belonged to Mr. David Tonwe, the Chairman of Concerned Itsekiri Coastal Dwellers, Warri. The money was supposed to be dispersed to the above-mentioned government officials.
All efforts to reach the above-mentioned government officials proved unsuccessful as calls and messages to the mobile lines of three of the government officials were not answered. Meanwhile, the mobile lines of two of the mentioned names were not reachable at all.