Benue Govt Moves to Recover N691million Fraud Money From Okupe
The trouble being faced by the Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on public affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe over a multi-million naira contract scam seems to be biting harder as the Benue state government today vowed to recover over N691 million he fraudulently obtained from the state in 2004.
The state Commissioner for Works and Transport, Mr Benjamin Ashaver who issued the threat today in Makurdi, the state capital said the state will pursue the petition against the presidential aide it submitted to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC last year when it first began the process of recovering the money from Okupe.
Ashaver who displayed the contract and payment documents while briefing journalists on the step being taken by the state government explained that the contract was awarded by the state’s former governor, George Akume to Okupe’s company, Messrs Value Trust Investment Limited for the construction of 230 kilometer rural roads on April 21, 2004 at the cost of N2,303,561,032.50 using loamy soil stabilization.
He said the state government then made a 30 percent mobilization sum of N691,068,309.75 to Okupe adding that by July 17, 2006, the total amount paid to Okupe’s firm stood at N886,867,913.18. He stated that though the project was expected to be completed in 18-months, that never came to pass as the presidential aide absconded with the money after doing a shoddy job estimated at N195,799,603.43.
He added that initial efforts made by the Akume administration led to the recovery of a meagre N55, 285,464.78 from the contractor’s bankers leaving the outstanding balance with Okupe at N691,068,309.75.
He said the inability of the state government to get Okupe to refund the rest amount led the state to report the matter to the EFCC which in turn invited and interrogated Okupe shortly before a change of leadership at the EFCC last year.
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