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Friday, October 7, 2022

Popular Journalist, Oriyomi Hamzat accused of partnering with Oyo Governor Makinde to carry out a N998m contract fraud

Popular broadcast journalist, Oriyomi Hamzat has been accused of colluding with the Seyi Makinde led Oyo State Government to carry out a N998 million contract fraud between August 2019 and December 2020.

This is according to an exclusive report from Dataphyte. According to the investigations published on their website, the Oyo State Government awarded a sixty leaves secondary school notebook contract at the cost of a whooping N2,100 per piece of book.

The contracted which costs the state government a total of N998 million was awarded in the three batches and in various contracts. It was explained that first set of twelve contracts totalling N456.504 million was awarded on August 28, 2019, the second set was awarded in June 2020, with a total value of N94.196 million and the third set awarded in December 2020 at N446.370 million for the supply of  212,505 copies of sixty leaves notebooks.

Mathematically, if the cost of supplying 212,505 notebooks is N446.370 million, each notebook will cost a sum of about N2,100. Research into the actual cost of sixty leaves notebook however revealed that a sixty leaves notebook at Mokola, Ibadan costs N100 and between N200 and N230 at some printing press.

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It was also noted that printing press offers lesser fees for high number of production, the higher the number of copies, the lesser the price for each copy.

Based on the maximum fees arrived through the market survey, the N446 million project should have costed the Oyo State Government a sum of about N49 million only. This implied that a sum of about N397 million was awarded outside the research value.

According to the investigation, the Public Procurement act of the Federal Government of Nigeria states that Bureau may refuse to issue a certificate of No Objection to Contract Award on grounds that the price is excessive.

ORIYOMI HAMZAT’S ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT

The investigation revealed that three companies allegedly belonging to popular journalist, Oriyomi Hamzat, are among the major beneficiaries of the inflated contracts.

“Of the four contractors who won the contracts three, Jeda Global Ventures, Insider Multipurpose Ventures and Sure Etiquette Media Plus Limited, are all owned by Mr Oriyomi Hamzat Abdulrahman.”

Mr Oriyomi Hamzat is a renowned broadcaster who recently founded Agidigbo FM in Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State. Mr Oriyomi is known for social justice activism, he recently covered extensively and followed up on the case of Timothy Adegoke’s murder at the Ramon Ogundoyin’s hotel in Ile-Ife.

His brilliance gained the attention of the Oyo State Governor who graced the occasion when he opened Agidigbo FM in 2021. The Governor on the day also stated that “the government was willing to support the station to thrive.”

Investigations however revealed that Mr. Oriyomi had in 2020 registered two different companies on the same day, Jeda Global Ventures and Insider Multipurpose Ventures were registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission on the same day, September 8, 2020.

And two months after registration, these companies won a contract from the state government.

“Both firms also operate from the same office location and space at 2nd floor, Salinsile building, Kajola bus stop, Monatan, Iwo road. Further scrutiny suggested these two companies were registered to specifically bid for the project.”

While the OYO OCP misspelt the company, investigation by Dataphyte revealed “Sure Ettiquette Media Plus Limited ” (with a double t), existed on the CAC portal, and registered to the same location as the other two companies above.

“Sure Etiquette is however listed as an inactive company on the CAC portal.”

Checks by Dataphyte showed the third company listed as ‘Sure Etiquette Media Plus Limited’ on the Open Contracting Portal of Oyo state, is also owned by Hamzat Oriyomi.

“A Facebook post in 2019 also links the firm to Oriyomi Hamzat. (Image below)”

“One person fronting for the same contract with multiple organisations is against section 16 8(g) provisions of the public procurement act.

Section 16 (8g) of the  act further forbids a bidder to have a relationship with other parties in the same proceedings, that is a relationship with other bidders vying for the same contract”.

A Certificate of No objection may not be issued in the case where “The bidder fails to submit a statement regarding its dominating or subsidiary relationships with respect to other parties in the proceedings and persons acting on behalf of the procuring entity participating in same proceedings or whom remains in subordinate relationship with other participants to the proceedings”. 

OYO STATE PROCUREMENT LAW VIOLATIONS

The Oyo State Government has been accused of violating its own laws by awarding contracts to inactive companies. According to the memos on SMEs inclusion and COVID-19 emergency procurement process published by the state, opening contract bids was not open for inactive companies.

Dataphyte revealed that: “In the December 2020 contract awards, two of the listed organisations, OPALS multinational Resources Limited and Sure Ettiquette Media Plus were inactive on the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)  portal.”

Also, the twelve contracts worth N446.7 million awarded on August 28, 2019 for production of customised books went to seven firms.  All 7 companies’ are inactive as of the time of this report, they are; Tripple I Global Resources, Sure Etiquette Media Plus, Leecon Synergy Limited, A.D.G multisystems Limited, ASP Integrated ventures and Rehoboth ventures apartments, found on the Corporate Affairs Commission Portal were inactive. 

The Oyo State Assembly Printing Press also got a contract.

The Oyo State Public Procurement Act, 2010, Section 8 (d), listed conditions for a company not receiving a contract award and it includes “The bidder is in arrears regarding payment of due taxes, charges, pensions or social insurance contributions except such bidder as received a lawful permit”. 

Any company listed as inactive is in contravention of one or more of the requirements listed in the section.

Barrister Awosusi Kehinde (Esq), a legal expert who spoke with Dataphyte, reinforced the provisions of the Act, that it is illegal for inactive companies to be awarded contracts.

Whencontacted by Datahyte, Mr. Oriyomi Hamzat, confirmed that he owns Jeda Global Ventures, Insider Multipurpose Ventures and Sure Etiquette Media Plus, three of the four companies that won contract awards in December 2020.

He however, denied any foul play on his part. According to him, he was not a part of the contract process and only allowed his friends to use his organisations to bid for contracts with the Oyo state government.

I WILL RESIGN IF ALLEGATIONS IS TRUE – SEYI MAKINDE

The Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde has reacted to the allegations saying he will resign if the allegations levelled against his administration is true.

He made the disclosure on Saturday when he spoke at the grand finale of the one year anniversary of a Oriyomi Hamzat’s owned radio station, Agidigbo 88.7FM, Ibadan, held at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan.

The governor stated that the allegations of contract inflation, fraudulent contract bidding and contract ambiguity, were untrue. He explained that if a thorough investigation is conducted and the allegations are found to be true, he would not hesitate to resign his position as governor of the pacesetter state.

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