While corruption continues to eat deep into the fabric of Nigeria, the fraudulent trend of contract racketeering across the states has reached a worrisome stage. More worrisome is the situation discovered in Enugu state by SecretsReporters where school constructions and reconstructions are being awarded to fake companies by the State Ministry of Education. This does not only mean the diversion of public funds but also puts the lives of the pupils in danger as quality construction work cannot be guaranteed by a fake company if the projects existed.
In its continuous mining of the data on the Enugu E-Procurement portal, SecretsReporters uncovered a company, Ogechi & Coy, which was awarded 21 contracts worth N290,600,000 million between 2019 to 2020.
Having discovered that the company is not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, the agency in charge of company registration in Nigeria, SecretsReporters reached out to the number provided by the Enugu Due Process as the contractor’s contact detail. The phone number registered to Gabriel Okpokwu was answered by a man who dropped the call after he was asked if his company is dully incorporated with CAC.
The contracts which range between N11, 000,000 to N16, 000,000 were said to be awarded through open competitive bidding and were bade for by four contractors whose names were not mentioned.
One of the contracts is the New Construction of 3 classrooms plus offices with the project code ocds-bmokzh-009965-EN/EDU/02. The contract whose budget amount is N4, 000,000,000 as is said to be captured in the state’s 2018 budget, was awarded at N16, 200,000 in 2020 and the location of the project which lasted for 42 days is Amachalla P/S Ibite Okpatu.
SecretsReporters uncovered that the address of the contractor provided by the Ministry of Education, led by Commissioner Prof Uche Eze, is untraceable as it does not provide a specific house address. The address given is Nkpo Street, Abakpa Nike.