Some members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) under the aegis of Concerned Edo PDP Stakeholders have petitioned the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) over alleged diversion of state funds by Governor Godwin Obaseki.
By Emmanuel Oladesu
The aggrieved members alleged that the governor should be investigated over the alleged award of contracts to his personal firm, AfriInvest Limited.
But, Obaseki’s media adviser, Crusoe Osagie, said the petition was frivolous, saying that the All Progressives Congress (APC) embarked on propaganda to tarnish the governor’s image.
He said the plot to divert his boss’ attention will fail.
A copy of the petition signed by Andrew Egboigbe, a PDP member in Ward 3, Orhionmwon LGA of Edo, was submitted to the ICPC on Monday.
The petition, titled: ” Petition against the unfairly advantageous awarding of Edo State Contracts to Afrinvest Limited by Mr. Godwin Obaseki”, alleged that Obaseki abused his office to award inflated contracts to his company, Afrinvest Limited, in flagrant disregard for the constitutional provision that guides the award of contract.
The petition alleged that Obaseki, being the founder of Afrinvest, used his position to award contracts to his company in flagrant disregard for the constitutional provision that guides award of contract.
It reads: “We, as concerned Edo indigenes, who have no other place to call our home except Edo state, file this honest petition against Mr. Godwin Obaseki, the governor of the state and his firm, Afrinvest Ltd.”
“This followed revelations from reliable sources of unfair advantage the governor bestowed upon the firm using accumulated state funds meant for developmental works and projects.”
The petitioners claimed that although Obaseki stepped down as the Chairman of Afrinvest’s Board of Directors in 2016 on the assumption of office, he installed one Mr. Ike Chioke who served as his stooge at the firm.
“One of such abuse of his official position was when Obaseki, single-handedly, without the approval of his cabinet and legislative arm of government, awarded a N1.8 billion naira consultation contract on water storm project to Afrinvest Ltd., without the justification of the sum and the nature of the contract. This, when established, will find the governor in contravention of Section 19 of the ICPC Act 2000.”
The petitioners further alleged that the security votes of Edo state which increased to an annual sum of 7.5 billion naira by Obaseki, since 2016, had been deposited in Afrinvest Ltd bank account.
According to the petitioners, the ICPC should establish whether stashed funds and other profits are what Obaseki used as starting capital to resuscitate PRIMUS bank, which the governor, acting through his proxies, is now seeking approval for, to operate as a regional bank.
They urged the ICPC to act within the mandate of its powers to establish these facts and provide the surrounding context of the relationship between Obaseki, Afrinvest, and Primus Bank.”
“The ICPC in line with its core mandate to examine the practices, systems, and procedures of public bodies and where, in the opinion of the commission, such practices, systems born procedures aid or facilitate fraud or corruption, to direct and supervise a review of them.”