Police quizzes Delta commissioner for 6hours over alleged forgery and fraud

Men of the Nigerian Police, from the Anti-Fraud Unit, Ikoyo, Lagos State, yesterday (Tuesday) arrested and quizzed Mr. Asupa Forteta, Commissioner for Youth and Sport Development, Delta State, for over 6 hours at the State Police Headquarters, Asaba, over alleged forgery of Tax clearance certificate to secure a job.IGP, SOLOMON ARASE

The police team led by Mr. Austin Odion, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, (ACP) had stormed Asaba, Delta State, last week Tuesday to effect the arrest of Mr. Forteta, but failed as the commissioner was alleged to be sick and was admitted at an undisclosed Hospital in Warri, but however reported at the Police Headquarters, Asaba at about 10am and was granted bail at about 5:30pm.

His arrest is as result of a petition written by Chief Emmanuel Ogobene, alleging that Forteta allegedly falsified tax clearance certificate using nonexistent business name, Deate Ventures to secure a contract worth of N140 million from the Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission, DESOPADEC, for the construction road and drainage at Orogun community, Ughelli North Local Government Area of the state.

He further alleged that Mr. Forteta fraudulently breached The Memorandum of Understanding they both entered into, dated August 28th, 2012 and signed by both Chief Ogobene, Hotel De Harmony Nig., Ltd and Mr. Asupa Forteta, Deate Ventures which states that the contract shall be executed under the name of Deate Ventures, and to share the profit on a 50-50 percentage ratio

According to our source at the police headquarters who pleaded anonymous said that Mr. Forteta told the police that as at the time the contract was awarded to him, he has no money to execute it hence, he look for a financier who provided his company Deate Ventures and wouldn’t have known that the tax clearance was forged or that the company was not dully registered with CAC.

The source added that the commissioner was later granted bail, and his bail bound was signed by two sureties, and was asked to deposit his international passport with the police and also report to their office in Lagos on April 18, 2016 for further interrogation.

The police team also wrote to the Managing Director of DESOPADEC, Chief William Makinde requesting for the release of the Director of Finance of DESOPADEC, Mr. Sunday Ajamuofa, Mr. David Ejukonemu, Engr Moses Akwunike and Engr Peter Ominije by Monday next week to come and explain their role over the alleged fraud surrounding the contract and why the job was abandoned.

Meanwhile when contact, Mr. Forteta confirmed the statement saying that, “as at the time I got that job I don’t have money to execute it, so I approached the owner of Deate Ventures who promised to finance the job but insisted that the contract must be awarded in his company’s name. So, at that material time I would not have known if the company was not registered or that the tax clearance certificate was allegedly forged.”

When asked why he entered an MOU with Hotel De Harmony Nig., Ltd in the name of Deate Ventures, he stated that, “when the owner of Deate Ventures failed to raise the money to execute the contract, and the job was fraudulently rewarded to Hotel De Harmony Nig., Ltd in 2011 and following intervention by some of the management of the agency, he agreed that they should jointly raise money to finance the project and share the profit 50-50.”

He however dinned that he went into hiding when the police came, stressing that he told them that he was sick and would personally report by Tuesday, which he did. He also debunked the assertion that Mr. Ovidje took him on bail, saying that; “I was granted bail on self recognition, because the petition failed to prove his allegation against me.”

It would be recalled that controversy  have trialed the award of  the same road and drainage contract by DESOPADEC, Warri, Delta State, to two separate contractors in 2008 and 2011 respectively at Orogun community, Ughelli North Local Government Area of the state.

Investigation revealed that the project, construction of a road and drainage for Umukoro Street, Orogun community by the commission without appropriate checks on the status of the project, had on December 22, 2008, awarded the contract to Deate Ventures for the sum of N140 million,    while the same contract was rewarded to Hotel De Harmony Nig., Ltd. on January 25,    2011 at N50 million and quantified for N80 million.

The letter of award to Deate Ventures was signed by the then Secretary of the Commission, Chief A. K. Osawota while the award letter for Hotel De Harmony was signed by the Secretary of the Commission Tender Board, Engr. Akwenuke Moses, January 25, 2011.

Confirming the authenticity of the letter of the same contract to another contractor in 2011 with his signature, Akwenuke told our correspondent that neither he nor the commission was aware that that the same job was awarded in 2008, hence the award of the project to Hotel De Harmony in 2011.

However, Chief Emmanuel Ogobene, the petitioner when contacted told our correspondent that he has instructed his lawyer to file both civil and criminal case against Mr. Forteta, over his misrepresentation and breach of contract, adding that; “I will pursue this matter to its logical conclusion.”

 

 

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