The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Thursday, refuted a letter indicating that it awarded a 56,250,000 euros contract to an Italian firm, Caradonna Group SRL.
Ibitoye Abosede, director, corporate affairs of the commission said the NDDC is unaware of any such contract and urged the public to disregard the said award letter being circulated online.
Early in the week, a contract letter allegedly generated by the commission’s Managing Director, Samuel Ogbuku, and countersigned by the Minister of the Delta Afairs, Umana Umana, emerged online.
The letter with project reference number: NDDC/01921-RP/NG-017/23-24 and contract reference number 081/NDDC/MT-IND/00433-23 indicated a 100 percent upfront payment in favour of the Italian firm.
A copy of the fake contract award letter
In a poorly constructed English, part of the award letter reads, “The NDDC legal department have prepare the draft contract agreement documents that will be binding NDDC and your esteem organisation CARADONNA GROUP SRL.
“You are expected to preview the drafted copies of the agreement, once you are satisfied with the terms, the Hard Copy Contract Agreement shall be produce for signing and legalization before the Financial Controller issue authorization to the paying bank for onward transfer of your contract amount.”
But Mr. Abosede in a statement described the award letter as “fake” adding that it did not emanate from the office of the managing director of the commission.
“The management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has dissociated itself from a fake contract award letter being circulated online purporting to originate from the desk of the Managing Director of the Commission.
“The commission unequivocally stated that the document was fake, adding that the purported contract is also a scam. “It does not exist either in the records of the Commission nor is any of our officials aware of it,” the statement read.
The NDDC insisted that contract awards in the commission follow due process as stipulated by the Procurement Act, adding that at the end of that process, the successful bidder is issued an award letter signed by the director of procurement.
It also mentioned that its award letters are printed on security paper with a serial number and a QR code, adding that they do not emanate from the managing director as the one in circulation which was printed on an ink jet printer.
Additionally, it said, “In any case, the signature on the fake document is not that of our managing director. Also, Nigeria had no Minister of Niger Delta Affairs by June 1, 2023 as the Federal Executive Council was dissolved before the handover of power on May 29, 2023.
“Our take is that the letter is a product of a cheap scam. It has no relationship whatsoever with the Commission. We hereby advise all stakeholders and interested parties to cross check any purported letter of contract award with the Procurement Department of the Commission.
“We also warn the public to beware of fraudsters who will stop at nothing to dupe others. We have reported this scam to the law enforcement agencies so that the culprits can be brought to book,” the commission indicated.