Following a series of petitions against the management of the Delta State Oil Producing Development Commission (DESOPADEC) over corruption and alleged embezzlement of funds amounting to N2 billion, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) last week quizzed the Managing Director of DESOPADEC, Mr. Williams Makinde, the Director of Finance and Account, Mr. Ajie Louis Dike, and others.
SaharaReporters reliably gathered that some of such petitions spearheaded by the Anti-Corruption and Integrity Forum forced the operatives of the EFCC to quiz the commission's MD, Director of Finance and Account, and other DESOPADEC officials last week.
Confiding in SaharaReporters, a staff of the commission in Warri disclosed that at the inception of the current management of the commission, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa released the sum of N2 billion to the commission to clear off debts being owed contractors, among other things. Instead of putting the funds to their right use, the MD, Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Mr. Askia Ogieh, and other directors and commissioners squandered the money.
A top government official told SaharaReporters that till date, that singular act has forced Mr. Okowa to release any funds for the commission apart from their salaries, adding that the governor only recently managed to release some funds to the commission.
"That money the MD, Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Mr. Askia Ogieh and other directors and commissioners squandered had pushed the governor to direct the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Ovie Agas, to announce the immediate dissolution of the commission. But former Vice President Alex Ekueme saved the situation by appealing to the governor to temper justice with mercy that things are not done like that, most especially when he is just coming into office. And that was how the commission was not dissolved till date," the source said.
An EFCC source who confirmed the quizzing told SaharaReporters that the DESOPADEC officials were granted bail and told to return with relevant documents to defend their case.
It would be recalled that sometime in April 2016, following a series of petitions, the embattled Managing Director of the Commission, Mr. Williams Makinde, the Executive Director of Projects, Mr. Philip Gbasim, Executive Director of Research, Planning and Statistics, Mr. Victor Wood, Executive Director of Socials, Mr. Ocho Ochor, Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Mr. Askia Ogieh, Chairman of DESOPADEC Board, Mr. Toritsereju Ebosa, representative of the Ijaw ethnic nationality at the Commission as well as his Itsekiri counterpart, Mr. Thomas Ereyitomi, were quizzed by the EFCC.
As at the time of filing in this report, calls to the commission's MD, Mr. Makinde, were rebuffed. However, both of his aides who do not want to be quoted confirmed the story, adding that it is no longer news or embarrassment to anyone in the commission. They stated that they were “used to it.”
“We go and come after meeting the demands so it's not new. But please, I am speaking for myself not as one of the aides to the MD," the aide said.
The EFCC last week arrested Mr. Ike Nwabuoku, Managing Director of Senator Peter Nwaoboshi's Bilderberg Enterprise Nigeria Limited, over an alleged N4.5 billion construction equipment contract scam.