SecretsReporters has uncovered a fraudulent scheme between the Lagos State government and Loretta Mabinton, the director of Katchey Company Limited. Through its investigation, this online news medium discovered that the Lagos State Ministry of Education has been colluding with Mabinton to divert public funds by awarding contracts to her company, in violation of the Lagos State Public Procurement Law of 2021.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: GSA bidding: NAPIMS officials not involved in sharp practices, court halted process – Investigation
In this recent investigation, it was discovered that Katchey Company Limited had received contracts from the Lagos State government on three separate occasions. The project, called Procurement of Equipment, Kits, Fittings, Fixtures, Furniture, and Installation of Digital Stem Laboratory, was awarded to the company, even though the company’s director, Mabinton, had been previously indicted for money laundering in 2006. This goes against Section 26, subsection 5(e) of the Lagos State Public Procurement Law 2021, which prohibits any bidder with a director convicted for any criminal offence related to fraud, financial impropriety, criminal misrepresentation, or falsification of facts from being awarded a contract.
Mabinton has been implicated in a money laundering scandal from 2006, in which $170,000, approximately N25,000,000 at the time, was illegally brought into New York by Andy Uba aboard the Nigerian presidential plane on September 22, 2003. It was alleged that Uba handed the money to Mabinton, who claimed in court documents that Uba was her fiancé and that he gave her the money to take care of his affairs in the US. Further investigations revealed that part of the money, $45,487.28, about 6.5 million Naira, was used to pay off Mabinton’s MBNA credit card account, which was used to purchase farm equipment that was shipped to Obasanjo Farms in Otta, Ogun State.
In 2006, allegations were made against Mabinton, a prominent figure at the time, and the former presidential aide, Andy Uba. However, Mabinton denied the allegations in a statement released on the 10th of November 2006 by the Daily Champion. She claimed that the allegations were baseless and aimed at achieving political ends.
Andy Uba had risen to prominence in 1999 when he was appointed as the Special Assistant to Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Special Duties and Domestic Affairs, a position he held for eight years. Uba went on to contest in the 2007 gubernatorial election in Anambra State under the PDP platform and won. However, his time in office was short-lived as he was removed just 17 days after assuming office following an Appeal Court ruling that nullified his election as Governor on the 14th of June 2007. The court held that Peter Obi of APGA had won the May 2003 Governorship Election but was not sworn-in until March 15, 2006, meaning he still had three more years to serve.
Andy Uba’s political career gained traction in 1999 when he was appointed as the Special Assistant to Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Special Duties and Domestic Affairs, a position he held for eight years. In 2007, he contested in the Anambra State Gubernatorial Election under the PDP and emerged victorious. However, his tenure as Governor was short-lived, as he was removed from office just 17 days after his inauguration due to a court ruling which declared that his opponent, Peter Obi of APGA, had won the May 2003 Governorship Election and still had three more years to serve. The court nullified Andy Uba’s election on June 14, 2007.
Findings by SecretsReporters further revealed irregularities in the Lagos State procurement agency’s contract details on its portal. Specifically, three projects with equal amounts of money and the same date were awarded. While one project has been marked as completed, the other two have been marked as newly awarded with one having an unspecified project implementing location. These raises concerns that one project may have been awarded three times in a fraudulent deal to divert public funds.