ORUBEBE WARNS FRAUDULENT CONTRACTORS
BY CHRIS OCHAYI
ABUJA-Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, has warned contractors handling development projects in the region against dropping his name or that of the ministry for illicit transactions.
He vowed to drag anyone caught in such act to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Elder Orubebe, who issued the warning following an alleged use of the ministry's name by a consultant to demand N44 million bribe from a contractor handling skill acquisition centre project in Edo State, said himself and the ministry had their images to protect.
The minister, while addressing contractors handling the skill acquisition centre projects in Edo and Delta states, at a meeting in Abuja, said the alleged bribery saga was an attempt to tarnish his reputation.
Orubebe said: 'I am worried because my name was mentioned; I don't know contractors handling various projects in the Niger Delta region. I only see their files and treat them accordingly.
He said: 'I don't talk or discuss with contractors. No file spends 24 hours on my table. I make sure that I treat them as they come. But, you people are still trying to drag my name to the mud for doing nothing. This is the name I built over the years.
'I have integrity, I have served at various levels in this country, I served under a governor who I later dragged to court. Apart from being an Elder in the church, I have integrity. '
Orubebe had earlier questioned the Chairman and Chief Executive of Chemtronics Nig. Limited, Chief Jonathan Alatoru, contractor at the centre of the bribery scandal over a remark by him that he cannot be used as cash-cow by the ministry staff allegedly fronting for the minister.
The Lot 1 of the skill acquisition centre project was awarded to Chemtronics Nig. Limited for N1.7 billion.
Chief Alatoru, while responding to the minister's inquiry, indicted a chairman and chief executive officer of a consultant firm, who he alleged wrote an official letter, demanded that N44 million be given to him on behalf of the ministry and N10 million for himself.
Alatoru, who claimed to be a pastor with Mountain of Fire and Miracle Centre, alleged further that the consultant was making the request after he had earlier extorted over N11 million from him.
According to him, 'I have all the letters written on the letter head papers demanding for the money with me here. He however said that despite the pressures, the money was not released to the accused.
Meanwhile, the two week ultimatum Elder Godsday Orubebe issued contractors to either perform or get their contracts terminated will expire by next week Monday.
Elder Orubebe who was not satisfied with the slothful approach to the projects by the contractors, had last week Monday, directed the Director of infrastructure in the ministry to set up two Task Force for Edo and Delta States to monitor and assess the performance of the contractors and determine whether they can continue or not.