Corruption: Amaechi sacked cabinet for fraudulent contract
THE Head of Safety and Aviation Department in the Rivers State Ministry of Transport, Mr. Saya Antiok, said on Thursday that the former state governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, sacked his cabinet during his first term in office in order to award the monorail contract to a firm, TSI Property and Investment Holding Limited, at the sum of N50 billion.
Antiok, who made this remark in Port Harcourt during the sitting of the commission of inquiry on the sale of state assets by the immediate past administration and other matters, explained that while members of Amaechi’s cabinet wanted the monorail contract to be awarded to Urbanod, an American-based firm, the former governor insisted that TSI should get the contract.
He told the commission that Urbanod offered to execute the 27.1-kilometre project at 15 percent less than what TSI Limited offered to do the job.
Antiok stated that the choice of a technical partner for the monorail project had set the cabinet against the governor before he (Amaechi) decided to dissolved the cabinet.
He said, “Two companies were initially involved in the race to partner with the Rivers State Government on the monorail project. TSI represented by retired Brig-Gen. Anthony Ukpo and Urbanod an American firm.
“The American company made a very impressive presentation. They told the state government that they would build the monorail project at the cost of $25bn and hand it over to the Rivers State Government to operate it as its property.
“The TSI asked the Rivers State Government to fund 20 percent of the project while TSI will provide 80 percent of the funds. The TSI arrangement was for it to build and operate it for 22 years to realise its investment before handing it over to the Rivers State Government.”
Also, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs. Stella Wigwe, who spoke earlier told the commission that the past government was not prudent with the funds spent on the multi-billion naira project, adding that N33.9 bn was spent on Phase 1A, out of the N50bn earmarked for the entire Phase 1 of the project.
Explaining that the total cost for the monorail project was put at 250 million euros, the Permanent Secretary said the original concept of the project was to start at the end of Aggrey to Air Force Gulf Club.
Wigwe added that the project, which was supposed to be a Public Private Partnership arrangement between the last administration and TSI Limited, collapsed, without any evidence of return of fund with N11bn already paid to the later.