The Permanent Secretary, Delta State Government House and Protocol, Eddy Ogidi-Gbegbaje, has again been enmeshed in another round of financial scandal running into N10.7 million.
Ogidi-Gbegbaje is also involved in a case of financial malfeasance running into N43,457,922.83 for the renovation of the Delta State Government VVIP Guest House in Asaba, the state capital.
The building, it was gathered, was only repainted while a chunk of the money was allegedly pocketed by the permanent secretary and other government officials.
Ogidi-Gbegbaje has denied this allegations.
SaharaReporters reliably gathered that Ogidi-Gbegbaje pocketed N10,750,000 million meant for the purchase of Christmas hampers for prominent Deltans.
In a memo with No.GHA.782/T18/6 and track file No. 530305 addressed to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, which was obtained by SaharaReporters, Ogidi-Gbegbaje quoted the sum N10,750,000 million for the purchase of 30 hampers meant to be presented to some prominent Deltans during the 2019 Christmas festivity.
In the memo, the Permanent Secretary appealed to Governor Okowa to "graciously approve the sum of N10,750,000 million for the procurement and distribution of 30 hampers for 30 prominent Deltans in and outside the state during the Christmas and new year celebrations."
The memo read, "Permit me to inform Your Excellency of the need for the state government to appreciate prominent Deltans in and outside the state during the upcoming Christmas and New Year Celebration for their support and contribution to the development of Delta State.
"As customary to the directorate, during the festive period, these categories of personalities are provided with giant size hampers on behalf of the state government. Each hamper will contain 35 pieces of golden cutlery, wines, coffee, UK Camel Tea-sets, pens, beverages, champagne, honey assorted tea, and a set of towels."
Speaking in confidence with SaharaReporters, an official of the state government, said, "The Ifeanyi Okowa led government is known for frivolous requests for funding running into several thousands of millions of naira which always ended up in private pockets.
"The N10,750,000 million purportedly used for the purchase of 30 Christmas hampers by the permanent secretary went the usual way and ended up in private pockets. This was the same way he claimed to have used N43.4 million for the renovation of the government house guest house when it was only repainted.
"Can the Permanent Secretary provide the names of the 30 prominent Deltans he claimed to have given the 30 hampers? Were the 30 hampers bought and delivered? If yes, can we see the proof and names of the beneficiaries as claimed?”
When asked to react to the allegation, Ogidi-Gbegbaje, said, "It’s a yearly thing; we distribute hampers to senior citizens and senior traditional rulers. The prices of hamper rages depending on the quality of things you have in the hampers."