by Isi Esene
The national publicity secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Lai Mohammed has described the non-performance of the N2.3 billion contract awarded to presidential aide, Dr. Doyin Okupe’s company, Value Trust Limited, by the Benue State Government as an “official endorsement of corruption”.
While speaking with newsmen today in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State, he accused the Federal Government, the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the Benue State Government of treating the matter with kid gloves due to the personality involved in the scandal.
Dr. Doyin Okupe is the recently appointed senior special assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on public affairs.
Mohammed said, “This is a case which raises serious legal and financial issues that must necessarily warrant the intervention of the EFCC in terms of investigating the allegation of financial impropriety levelled against the presidential aide if the Federal Government wants it to be taken seriously on its war against corruption.
He stated that several businessmen have been arrested and prosecuted by the EFCC for similar cases wondering why Okupe’s case seems to be approached differently.
He continued, saying “Dr. Doyin Okupe’s case is not different from any of these. In the face of the obvious attempt by the Presidency, the Peoples Democratic Party and the Economic and Financial Crime Commission to sweep this case under the carpet, the Action Congress of Nigeria sees the need to present once again unadorned the facts of this case to the public, which are as follows: ‘Value Trust, a company in which Dr. Doyin Okupe serves as chairman, received the sum of N886.8mn as mobilisation from the Benue state government out of the contract sum of N2.3bn to construct 230km of rural road and failed to execute the contract.’
“Therefore, the stance of both the Benue State Government and the Peoples Democratic Party to treat this obvious criminal act with triviality by treating it as a mere civil commercial disagreement that could be summarily resolved between the Benue State Government and Dr. Doyin Okupe’s company cannot stand as only a court of law can determine the culpability or otherwise of Dr. Okupe and his company in the matter.”
He challenged the EFCC to stop the prosecution of bank directors and oil subsidy beneficiaries if the commission has decided to treat Okupe with perceived leniency.