…another N39.4m For “Consultancy On Rebuttal Of Attacks Against Akpabio”
The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Interim Management Committee (IMC), is currently enmeshed in another financial scandal in which the commission is alleged to have paid N641 million for media communications for the ongoing forensic audit of the commission.
The interventionist agency, was also alleged to have paid N39.4 million for “Consultancy on Rebuttal of Media Attacks Against Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Godswill Akpabio.
BIGPEN reports that Clear Point Communication Limited, a company said to be linked to Akpabio was listed as beneficiary of the whopping sums wired through the Central Bank of Nigeria to Zenith Bank Head office account of the firm.
Investigation revealed that Clear Point Communication, incorporated on 16 February 2005 with registration number 616900 as an unlimited company, is owned by Ekoriko Moffat from Akwa Ibom State and his wife Ekoriko Ngozi as Directors.
The company’s listed address is at 3/10 Military Street, Onikan, Lagos.
According to one document, N642million was paid to ClearPoint for “Media And Communications Support For Forensic Audit Excecise” on May 22, 2020 using Systemspecs platforms, the operators of foremost Remita services.
Another document revealed that N39.4m was paid to the same company as consultancy on rebuttal of media attacks against Akpabio and members of the NDDC IMC.
It was gathered that in April, apparently, in anticipation of the mouthwatering deal, Moffat Ekoriko took to his social media page on facebook to advertise for social media influencer with large following in the nine states of the Niger Delta.
He was said to have also commissioned some NDCC sponsored COVID-19 awareness campaign jingos on radio and television within the period.
It was not clear if the firm did any recruitment for the purported media support for the forensic audit or reported rebuttals, a source privy to the deal said adding, however, that the same NDDC that had paid such a huge sum for “media rebuttals and support for forensic audit” was indebted in hundreds of millions of naira to several national dailies for adverts including the ones placed in Vanguard, Thisday, Punch, Guardian, Sun, Nation for long as three years ago.
Recall that on February 12, 2020, Akpabio announced the engagement of one Olumuyiwa Bashiru and Co to be paid the sum of N318 million as the forensic auditor to handle the audit of the NDDC.
One of the civil society groups, Transparency and Accountability Advancement Group, in a petition signed by Godknows Sotonye, said that the alleged payment for Forensic Audit media campaign was a “blatant fraud and clear indication that the so-called forensic audit is actually a forensic looting being undertaken by the minister and the IMC”.
“What Nigerians did not know was that Akpabio was now going to use this as a foundation to subsequently loot the resources of the NDDC. Using his men in the IMC they now went ahead on May 22, 2020, to take out from the NDDC account the sum of N641 million as payment for a ridiculous “Media and Communications Support for Forensic Audit Exercise.”
“It has also come to light that Akpabio and the IMC are paying people to organise propaganda on their behalf following the unearthing of their fraudulent schemes. On May 19, 2020, the IMC paid N39.4 million for “Consultancy on Rebuttal of Media Attacks Against HMDA, IMC and NDDC” to the same Clearpoint Communications Limited”, he wrote.
When contacted, Moffat Ekoriko whose company, Clear Point Communications was paid the huge sum for “Media And Communications Support For Forensic Audit Excecise”, said that it would be a violation of contractual agreement between his company and NDDC to comment on the said payment.
“A company has a contractual confidentiality obligations so we will keep quiet as a company until the commission makes any comment concerning us or of the law enforcement agencies see any reason to ask us questions, then we will answer so if we talk now we will be breaching our confidentiality with the commission.
“What we do for them is reputation management and it is the same thing done in abroad so how do you go as a consultant to start discussing your contract with your client openly. So that’s the difficulty we have. For me, I can write as a journalist of 25 years experience but I can’t breach that confidentiality”, Ekoriko added.
Several efforts to get comments from Charles Odili, Director, Corporate Affairs at the NDDC were unsuccessful. Akpabio’s spokesman Anietie Ekong was also not available to comment as of the time this report was updated.