Problems of Askia Ogieh Deepens as Delta Assembly Set to Probe DESOPADEC Financial Records
LAGOS OCTOBER 26TH (URHOBOTODAY)-The problems of demoted Director of Administration and Finance of Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (DESOPADEC), Cief Askia Ogieh deepens as members of Delta State House of Assembly are set to probe the financial records of the state intervention agency.
This is coming following findings that several millions of naira which have accrued to the commission within one year of Olorogun Williams Makinde’s led management of the commission have been either misappropriated or stolen.
Investigation revealed that the moves to scrutinize the financial record books of the commission by the Assembly is coming owing to documented records of fraud reportedly traced to the former controversial Executive Director of Finance and Administration of the Commission, Chief Askia Ogieh who have since been ‘demoted’ by the Governing Board of the commission.
Our source disclosed that Ogieh whom report revealed became intoxicated with the lucrative position of Finance and administration of the Agency was alleged to have purportedly fleeced the commission of over a billion naira, adding that DESOPADEC as an establishment have been enmeshed in several dubious financial scandals, some of which were perpetrated since inception of the commission.
“ DESOPADEC as an establisment don’t have a nominal register of its workers nor can the commision boost to have a payment voucher which they use to pay their workers salaries and allowances, a situation which have made it easy for fraud to be perpetrated.
“There are several dubious financial documents, some of which were reportedly prepared sometime after the transactions took place and money collected. There are equally some questionable accounting records and suspected false accounting as well as illegal rackets in which huge sum of money were pocketed without any project done in the commission,” a source within the Commission revealed, adding that the debt profile of DESOPADEC to contractors is over N10billion naira with a section of supplies and maintenance contractors alone are being owned over N100million.
Our impeccable sources at the commission affirmed that the huge fraud allegedly traced to Ogieh in particular had prompted Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to give his nod to the action of the board to immediately redeploy Ogieh from the position as EDFA.
The source disclosed that the embattled Ogieh who was jostled by documented evidences of how hundreds of millions of naira were allegedly fleece away by him, had threatened to petition the board members who in a heated debate were said to have resolved to reshuffle the four Executive Directors which made up the management team of the new board inagurated on Friday August 28, 2015, at the Government House, Asaba.
Our source however disclosed that the infighting between the management team and other board members of the commission became visible when out of the nine board members of the commission, eight were said to have signed for the redeployment of Ogieh, leaving the Isoko representative in the board, Hon Ovie Oghoore staying neutral ostensibly because Ogieh was his kinsman.
Ogieh who appear to be the target of the board is being replace by the Executive Director Project, Mr Chris Ochor Ochor who hails from Ukwuani in Delta North senatorial district while he was redeployed as ED Social Services, replacing Mr. Philip Gbasin (Ijaw-Warri South). Other positions may also be rotated within the next three years of the tenure of the management, according to the initiate arrangement by the board.
The appointment letters issued to the various appointee didn’t contain their positions – they were allotted positions after their appointments as Executive Directors and so statutorily the board reserved the right to reshuffle the EDs as it deem wants, our source said.
However, it was gathered that Ogieh who hails from Isoko South, desperate to stay tight to the position reportedly orchestrated a petition against one of the board member, Mr. Pius Ovbije who was said to have moved the motion for his as EDFA.
Ovbije, an Ughelli North representative in the board, according to the petition was reportedly drawing double salaries from the state government-one from DESOPADEC and the other from State Universal Basic Education Board from where he was a Director of Finance at the Warri South office and was on secondment as part-time commissioner in DESOPADEC.
The allegations however turned out to be false as the said Ovbije, according to documents made available to the DESOPADEC management and seen by our correspondent showed he has since September 15, 2015, applied to SUBEB for stoppage of his salary as well as notified the commission.
Our findings shows however that since the development was made known to Governor Okowa, Ogieh, who reportedly act as a ‘defacto governor’ in the oil commission, has been lobbying people including House of Representative Minority Leader, Hon Leo Ogor and the Isoko apex socio-cultural organisation, Isoko Development Union, led by High Chief Iduh Amadhe to prevail on Governor Okowa to reverse the decisions of the board.
It is gathered however that Ogor is not willing to help Ogieh fix his mess ostensibly because Ogieh courts controversy and often time lord over his political leaders.
Dependable sources at the state Assembly who confirmed the development said the State House of Assembly led by controversial Speaker, Mr Monday Igbuya miffed by the documented records showed the government of how Ogieh had allegedly fleece the oil commission of huge sum had decided to probe the records of the commission since inception of the present management.
The source diclosed that the Assembly which have commissioned its House Committee Chairman on DESOPADEC to storm Warri headquarters of the oil commission was hell-bent to recover all money purportedly misappropriated or stolen fraudulently by Ogieh or any other person moreso now that there is paucity of funds in the country.
Our source said the Assembly while exercising its oversight function was not ready to call in the country anti-graft agency, EFCC to recover any alleged stolen funds but would ensure that anybody indicted by its investigation must cough out the fund fleece away from the commission’s coffers.