Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, has threatened to drag a former member of the House of Representatives, Dino Melaye, to court over allegations that the ministry awarded fictitious contracts to the tune of N29 billion.
Melaye, Executive Secretary of Anti-Corruption Network, had at a press briefing in Abuja, Monday, alleged that over N29 billion had been siphoned through fictitious contracts by the ministry.
He said the contracts include land reclamation/shoreline protection and canalisation. He alleged further that the ministry was involved in payments for phantom projects, over-budgeting and violation of Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, guidelines for the award of contracts.
However, in a reaction to the allegations, yesterday, Elder Orubebe described the allegations as false, a fallacy and unfounded and an attempt to bring to disrepute the good image he had built for himself over the years.
He said: “I have also consulted my lawyers and I hope that Dino Melaye will also be ready to meet me in court because I am heading to the court.”
Orubebe, who said the projects in question were located in communities and could be verified at anytime, listed the contracts to include Canalisation/River Training of Foupolo-Bulou Ndoro Creek in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, awarded to First Marine & Engineering Services Limited on February 2, 2011, for N2,370,668,252; canalisation at Odoubou, Ogba-bagbene Burutu of Delta State was awarded to Og-bosite International Limited at N1,259,233,750 on February 2, 2011; and Land Reclamation/Shoreline Protection Project at Ogbobagbene, Burutu, awarded to Snecou Group of Companies Ltd on March 7, 2011, at N2,431,040,173.
While describing Melaye as an undertaker and a willing tool always ready to be used for sordid job, the minister said: “There was a process through which contracts were awarded.
“Evaluations of contracts are not done by the Ministry of Niger Delta. If proposals are generated by the Ministry of Niger Delta, it will go to the Due Process office.
“That is what is contained in the Due Process Act, which he was part of. He has come to tell Nigerians that he never read that law. He was just in the House of Representatives.”
“All the processes were done by the Due Process office. Of course, by that Act, any project that is above N1 billion will have to go to the Federal Executive Council, FEC.
“It was sad that Dino just went to the National Assembly; he was just there making ordinary noise and he didn’t know anything. I think what he is going through is what I will like to term adulthood madness and recklessness.”