The Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), a coalition anti-corruption organizations, has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to launch a thorough investigation into the alleged N1.1 billion contract scandal involving the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Lasun Yusuf.
Yusuf was accused of using his personal company, Nur & Company Nigeria Limited, to secure contracts amounting to about N1.1 Billion from the Federal Government through the Ministry of Water Resources.
In a petition forwarded to the Chairman of the commission, Ibrahim Magu, and signed by CSNAC's National Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, the Network asked that appropriate sanctions be taken if the allegations are found to be true.
According to an investigation by New Telegraph Newspaper, Lasun, during his first term in the House, used his personal company Nur & Company Nigeria Limited to secure two mini-water schemes in Osun State, as advertised on behalf of the ministry by the Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority.
The petition reads in part: “The contracts, which are part of the National Assembly’s Zonal Intervention Projects (ZIP), otherwise known as “constituency projects,” were parts of the joint projects attracted to the state by 12 members of the National Assembly from Osun State, who had been elected to the two chambers between 2011 and 2015, on the platform of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), one of the legacy parties of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
"Hon. Lasun, who represents Irepodun/Orolu/ Olorunda/Osogbo Federal Constituency, and who was then the Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Water Resources, had allegedly used his position to bid and win the contract without the knowledge of his colleagues.
"According to one of the parliamentarians and now the Chief Whip of the Senate, Prof. Sola Adeyeye, the decision to execute common projects by the representatives at the time was based on the quest to make meaningful impacts on the infrastructural deficit in the state and complement the efforts of the state Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola."
Adeyeye said Ife-Odan, Ipetu-Ijesha and Ila-Orangun were chosen as beneficiary communities for the West, East and Central Senatorial Districts respectively for the construction of the mini water schemes,
“It was Lasun that was given the assignment to link up with the Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority for the execution.”
The investigation, written by Mojeed Alabi, stated that: “The contract supervising agency, the Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority (OORBDA), told the media outfit that it awarded the Ife-Odan scheme at the sum of N538,412,653.06; Ila-Orangun at the rate of N539,128,429.13 while N541,193,861.23 was approved for Ipetu Ijesha project.
“Thus, the new total sum released for the project stood at N1,618,734,943.47. In a letter addressed to New Telegraph on January 18, 2018, and signed by its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Olufemi Odumosu, the agency explained that after competitive bidding processes, both Nur and Company Nigeria Limited, an engineering company, and Sabbyn Nigeria Limited, an oil and gas company, were awarded the contracts in 2012, with the former handling the projects at Ife-Odan and Ila-Orangun while the latter handled that of Ipetu- Ijesha.
“Meanwhile, visits to the beneficiary communities by our correspondent revealed disappointment and frustration among the people, who were initially excited by the location of the projects in their towns" was the report from the journalist after visiting the sites of the projects.
"The situation is worse in Ife-Odan, where more than six years after the award of the contract, it was yet to produce a drop of water. Speaking on their frustrations, according to the reporter, both the Risapetu and Regent of Ipetu-Ijesha, High Chief Ayodele Olayinka and Obajio of Ife-Odan, Chief Amoo Adegbite, expressed regret that their people’s hope had been dashed by the alleged poor handling of the projects.”
New Telegraph investigations revealed that as soon as the projects were handed over to the Osun State Water Corporation in 2016 with certificates of completion already issued to the contractors by OORBDA, the Water Corporation rejected the projects at Ife-Odan and Ila-Orangun, insisting that the contracts were not adequately executed.
According to the Corporation’s Deputy General Manager, Operations and Production, Mr. Ademola Odejide, an engineer, the corporation recommended a better industrial borehole for Ila-Orangun and raw water supply at Ife-Odan, saying the boreholes sunk could hardly yield 20 per cent.
"The Managing Director of Sabbyn Nigeria Limited, Mr. Abayomi Collins, who is a former member of the House of Representatives from Ogun State, said it delivered the project to specifications, and that the Federal Government still owed his company about N18 million, five per cent retention fee.
CSNAC noted further: "In addition to the above, a visit to the Plot 8, Impressive Close, Off Dosumu Street, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos, which Nur & Company Limited quoted as its office in its documents with the contract awarding agency, revealed the address belongs to a different owner entirely. In fact, the New Telegraph’s investigation was said to have led to the arrest of one of their correspondent, as the owner of the property, one Mrs. Dupe Dare, was said to have accused him of working for a syndicate that had previously used her property to secure loan without her consent.
"According to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Nur & Company Limited belongs to the Deputy Speaker as a director, with his wife – Mrs. Omowunmi Rasheeda Yusuff and his three children – Ayomide, Feyisara and Rasheeda – also serving as shareholders and directors."
Conclusively, CSNAC submitted: "On the whole, in the face of the above allegations, we are of the view that if same is found to be true, the aforementioned action of the Deputy Speaker is in flagrant disregard of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers and the Public Procurement Act and as such appropriate sanctions and or prosecution should be made against him to serve as a deterrent to other like-minded individuals."