Rivers State: Icpc Bursts N5 Billion Contract Scam, Arrests Commissioner, Top Govt Officials, Bank Chiefs
New information available to ukpakareports.com indicate that the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) has nabbed the Rivers state Commissioner of Health, Dr Parker Sampson and several top government functionaries in the State over a N5 billion ($37.2m) contract scam.
The Commission had also arrested some contractors, and officials of three banks including First Bank, Access Bank and Zenith Bank, all based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State Capital as well as the Accountant General of the State on alleged involvement in the scam. They are beign questioned for their alleged complicity in the deal.
The government officials already in ICPC net include a Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, the Director of Accounts and the Director of Medical Services in the ministry, all said to have made useful statements in support of allegations levelled against the Commissioner.
According to ICPC, arrest of the suspects was necessitated by the roles each of them allegedly played in the diversion of the sum of N5 billion earmarked by the state government for construction of Justice Karibi Whyte Memorial Hospital located at Omagwa, Rivers State. The construction was to be jointly handled by a foreign contractor Clinotech International Ova.
It said the Health Commissioner allegedly collaborated with main contractor Dr. Harrison Ofiyal, Managing Director Clinotech International Ova which had been engaged by the government of River state for the construction of the Memorial Hospital.
It said preliminary investigations conducted by its operatives had shown that the amount claimed to have been spent on the Hospital Project was nothing to compared with the structure on the ground, thus indicating that those connected with the project allegedly embezzled a large chunk of the money so earmarked.
The Justice Karibi Whyte Memorial Hospital, according to plan by the Rivers State Government was meant to be constructed by Public Private Partnership arrangement.
The ICPC said the officials of three banks so far arrested were alleged to have aided the diversion of the fund earmarked for the project such that 60 percent of the N5 billion set aside for construction could not be accounted for.
The Resident Consultant to ICPC on Media, Mr. Folu Olamiti said the anti-graft Commission swung into action on account of petitions filed by concerned citizens from Rivers State on the contract and eventually uncovered the scam.
He said investigations into the contract scam was yet to conclude as he indicated that more arrest of suspected culprits would be made immediately a signal to that effect emerge.