Operatives of the Special Anti-Fraud Unit in Ikoyi, Lagos State, arrested and interrogated the Delta State Commissioner for Youth and Sport, Asupa Forteta, for forging a tax certificate.
SaharaReporters reliably learned that Mr. Forteta was arrested and taken to the Delta State Police Headquarters in Asaba where he was questioned for his alleged forgery of a tax clearance certificate to secure a contract in 2008 from the Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (DESOPADEC).
Confiding in SaharaReporters, a Delta State police officer disclosed that the Special Anti-Fraud Unit had attempted to arrest Mr. Forteta several weeks ago but failed, as Mr. Forteta was allegedly sick and admitted to a hospital.
It was gathered that after several weeks of unfruitful attempts to arrest the Youth and Sport Commissioner, the police team contacted the Secretary to the State Government, Ovie Agas, who then promised to present Mr. Forteta to the police by Tuesday. Mr. Forteta was then handed over to the Special Anti-Fraud Unit last Tuesday at around 10am.
SaharaReporters gathered that the Youth and Sport Commissioner was arrested following a petition of fraud filed by one Chief Emmanuel Ogobene. In his petition, Mr. Ogobene alleged that Mr. Forteta falsified tax clearance certificate no. 099536, with a file no. EFT.7767, using a nonexistent business name, “Deate Ventures,” in order to secure a contract worth N140 million from DESOPADEC for the construction of roads and drainage pipes in Orogun Community, Ughelli North Local Government Area (LGA) of the State.
Our police source disclosed that the Commissioner was later granted bail after a bail bond was signed by Pius Ovidje, the Commissioner representing Ughelli North and Ethiope East LGA on the board of DESOPADEC. Mr. Forteta was asked to return to the Police Headquarters on April 18, 2016 for further interrogation.
The police team has also invited the Director of Finance of DESOPADEC, Sunday Ajamuofa, along with David Ejukonemu, Moses Akwunike and Peter Ominije to report to the Special Anti-Fraud Unit office in Lagos next week to explain their role over the alleged fraud surrounding the contract and why the job was abandoned.
It was further gathered that the Chief Tax Officer of the Delta State Board of Internal Revenue was also invited to come forward and clarify the issues of two tax clearance certificates issued in 2009-2011 after the contract had been awarded in 2008.
Meanwhile, in a bid to save and exonerate the arrested embattled Commissioner, the Managing Director of DESOPADEC, Williams Makinde, the Commission's Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Askia Ogieh, and other officials of the Commission allegedly connived to cover up the fraud committed by Mr. Forteta.
An anonymous source from DESOPADEC told SaharaReporters, “The management of DESOPADEC discovered that the tax clearance presented by Mr. Forteta through Deate Ventures was not genuine. In order to save face, management removed the fraudulent tax certificate and replaced it with one from 2009-2011.
“My brother, the Managing Director, and his team are not smart enough. How can a tax clearance certificate for a job that was awarded in 2008 show the years 2009, 2010 and 2011?” the source stated.
Mr. Ogobene, the petitioner, told our correspondent that he has instructed his lawyers to file both civil and criminal cases against Mr. Forteta over his misrepresentation and breach of contract.
“I will pursue this matter to its logical conclusion,” he stated.
When contacted, Mr. Forteta confirmed his arrest, adding that he would not have known that the company used on the tax certificate was not registered or that the tax clearance certificate was a forged one.