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Ceremonial Fraud: Personnel Disowns Ondo State Gov’t As Ministry of Information Uses Tax Evading Company to Purchase Christmas Cards, Calendars worth N20 Million

Secret Reporters

Data on the Ondo State Open Procurement Portal have revealed that on October 27th 2020, the State Government under the leadership of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu awarded a contract to Publicist Integrated Services Limited for the “Production of 2020 Christmas Cards”.

According to the data, the contract was awarded by the Ministry of Information and it was pegged at #1,846,590.91. Meanwhile, the contract did not specify the number of cards.

As of the time the contract was awarded, Donald Ojogo was the Commissioner of the ministry. He resigned in April 2022 to contest the 2023 election. Ojogo won the All Progressive Congress primary in Ilaje/Ese-Odo Federal Constituency to clinch the House of Representatives ticket.

(A screenshot of the contract for the purchase of Christmas Cards as seen on the Ondo State Open Procurement Portal)

In a similar development, data on the State Open Procurement Portal also show that the Ministry awarded another contract to the same company for the “Production of 2021 Calendars”.

According to the data, the contract was awarded October 27th 2020 and it was pegged at #18,750,000.00. The contract did not specify the number of Calendars.

(A screenshot of the contract for the purchase of Calendars as seen on the Ondo State Open Procurement Portal)

PUBLICIST INTEGRATED SERVICES LIMITED was incorporated in Lagos, Nigeria with Registration Number 809940. It was registered on 26 March 2009 and its current status is unknown. The company’s office address is 10 Atinmo street bus stop Ikosi Ketu, Lagos. The company’s directors are Adeola Oladipo, Ayodami Olawunmi Seriki, and Abayomi Odunayo Seriki.

Findings on the Corporate Affairs Commission Portal show that the company is not active. According to CAC, “A company that has not been filing its financial returns within a specified time is classified as inactive.” This implies a financial crime.

(A screenshot of Publicist Integrated Services Limited as seen on the Corporate Affairs Commission Portal)

According to the procurement law, to qualify for a government contract, a company must among others, show evidence of fulfilling its Tax obligations which include: (i) a Current Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC) for the last three (3) years; VAT Registration Certificate; and TIN Number (Tax Identification Number).

(ii) Audited Account of the Bidding Company for the last three (3) years duly endorsed by a firm of Professional Accountants.

Meanwhile, the company’s registered address is different from the one provided in the contract details.

When our correspondent reached out to the contact person (whose name was not given) provided in the contract details, the recipient of the call denied working with the Ondo State Ministry of Information.

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