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EFCC Probes Alleged N118 Billion Contract Scam, N10 Billion Airport Scam by Ex-Abia Governor

Toba Owojaiye reporting
Abuja, Nigeria

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has embarked on a thorough investigation into the alleged financial misconduct that marred the eight-year tenure of the former Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu. This move comes on the heels of significant findings unearthed by forensic auditors engaged by the current Governor of Abia State, Dr Alex Otti.

Truth Live News gathered from sources within the commission, though speaking on condition of anonymity, that the probe into Ikpeazu’s administration is wide-ranging, covering allegations ranging from fund misappropriation to violations of public procurement laws, as well as the diversion of N10 billion intended for an airport project.

It is reported that the EFCC has received copies of a forensic audit report prepared by KPMG Advisory Services, which detailed instances of financial recklessness during Ikpeazu’s tenure. The audit report, submitted by the Otti administration, has been commended by the EFCC for its comprehensive nature, which has facilitated their investigations.

Analysis of the forensic audit report by *The Whistler* has revealed a pattern of circumvention of the Public Procurement Law of Abia State in the awarding of numerous contracts amounting to billions of naira. Notably, 73 contracts worth ₦95.22 billion cannot be traced, as they were awarded without adhering to the stipulated procurement processes.

Furthermore, the report exposes that 69 contracts worth ₦118.7 billion were awarded to contractors with incomplete bid documents, contrary to the requirements of the state’s procurement law. These contracts include significant projects such as road expansions and reconstructions.

In one instance, a road construction contract valued at ₦1.41 billion was awarded to Gemp Engineering despite the company submitting its bid after the deadline, in violation of procurement regulations. This raises questions about the integrity of the contracting process under Ikpeazu’s administration.

Additionally, it was discovered that 33 contracts worth ₦9.82 billion lacked in-house estimates, a fundamental step in the procurement process that aids in evaluating bids accurately. This oversight points to a lack of transparency and accountability in the awarding of contracts.

Moreover, seven ministries failed to provide bid document records for 85 contracts worth ₦157.34 billion, indicating a systemic failure to adhere to procurement laws requiring public bid openings and evaluations.

The revelations from the forensic audit have sparked public outcry, with many calling for the arrest and prosecution of those implicated in the alleged corruption. The former governor’s response, through his then Commissioner for Information, claiming diversion of funds for other projects, has been met with skepticism, as proper budgetary procedures were not followed.

The current administration’s commitment to accountability and transparency has been lauded by netizens, who express hope that the EFCC’s probe will not be undermined and justice will be served. This scrutiny marks a pivotal moment for Abia State, signaling a departure from past governance practices towards a more accountable and responsible stewardship of public funds.

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