A marine company, Rock Marine Service Limited, has dragged four top officials of the Akwa Ibom State Government to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for allegedly swindling the firm of over N184.24 million.
The four top government officials allegedly indicted were: the State Commissioner for Transport and Petroleum Resources, Mr. Orman Esin, the Technical Assistant-Bureau of Technical Matters, Mr. Victor Akai, the Director of Administration, Ministry of Transport and Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ekerete Edo, and the Finance Consultant accredited by Bureau of Technical Matters, Mr. Idongesit Bassey.
In the petition entitled: “Obtaining N184, 235,450.89 by officials of Akwa Ibom State Government under the false pretence of concessioning Marine Terminal at Oron to Rock Marine Services Limited – a call for investigation,” the company urged the anti-graft agency to investigate the activity of the state government officials with regard to the abandoned Oron Jetty in Oron Local Government Area of the State.
The Managing Director, Rock Marine Services Ltd. Engr. Essien Elijah alleged that his interest to design, build, operate and maintain the Oron Marine Terminal as a concessionaire started since 2015, lamenting that up to the time of approaching the EFCC nothing was achieved after millions of Naira was spent. He said his company has experienced untold loss in the process, adding that his partners were nursing the belief that he connived with the state government officials to defraud them.
“From our calculations and audit report the company has spent a total of N184 million through phony demands,” Elijah stated. He lamented that due to debts incurred to finance the project; his financiers have lost faith in his company and have resorted to taking him to different police stations in Lagos and to the EFCC.
The counsel to Rock Marine Services Ltd., Barrister Ndifereke Akpan of Star Attorneys Chamber, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, in the petition claimed that the syndicate have collected various sums of money under different pretences from his client. “They deliberately led him on creating the impression that they were pursuing the business under reference only to call off same after collecting substantial sums of money from him”, and stated different roles played by different members of the syndicate and the amount collected by them.
Akpan, in the petition, alleged that “all the persons complained conspired together with the common intention of obtaining these various sums of money from our client under the false pretense of executing a project they had no intention of executing in the first place.”
He called on officials of the anti-graft commission to investigate the petition thoroughly with a view to recovering the monies obtained under false pretences and bring the culprits to justice, in accordance with the law. It was learnt that the EFCC has begun investigation into the petition as the state government officials and the petitioners were guests of the anti-graft agency in the month of July.
One of the State Government officials, in his reaction, said that it was incumbent on the petitioner to prove his case and how such monies were paid to them including his competency of doing the project.