Dr. Evelyn Ngige, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and two former directors of the ministry, Uchola Emmanuel Ina and Abubakar Dangaladima, have been accused procurement fraud, with the two directors indicted by the police for taking away vehicles worth millions of naira belonging to the government while proceeding on retirement.
Evelyn is the wife of the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige.
The Nigeria Police Force released the report of its investigation into the allegations of procurement fraud against the top officials of the ministry on Monday.
The police investigation followed a petition by Phantom Digital Technologies Services Limited through its lawyers to the Inspector General of Police, which was sighted on Friday, over a contract for the supply of 14 vehicles undertaken by the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Ngige in violation of mandatory provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007.
The petition dated November 15, 2022, and titled had read, “Petition in respect of a suspected case of monumental fraud, obtaining by false pretences, corrupt practices and criminal breach of trust: urgent request to save our client and its management from victimization, continuous harassment, false information, intimidation, public embarrassment, and blackmail”.
It was signed by lawyers, Azeez Taiwo Hassan Esq and Adaobi Obioma Esq.
In the report signed by ACP Ibrahim Musa and sent to the Minister in-charge of the ministry, the police indicted two former Directors in the ministry, Uchola Emmanuel Ina and Abubakar Dangaladima for taking away vehicles worth millions of Naira belonging to the government while proceeding on retirement.
The report read, “Upon the receipt of the formal letter of complaint and in compliance with Inspector-General of Police directive for investigation of the case under reference, a painstaking investigation was carried out, in which the written statements of the under-listed persons were duly recorded at the IGP Monitoring Unit;
“3.1. Onuoha Ifeanyi Aged “39” “M” (Complainant); 3.2 Emmanuel Uchols Aged ’60’ “M’ (Suspect 1); 3.3 Otunba Dr. Adejare Adedapo Aged ’49 “M’ (Witness);
“That it was agreed by contracting parties that the contract term would be 7 days during which the said vehicles will be supplied to the Ministry upon fulfilling of the defined conditions required to enable Phantom Digital Technology Services Limited carry out his obligations
“That there was a delay occasioned by the Ministry as the procurement process was not completed until December 2021 thereby resulting in a hike in the market price of the vehicles of the specification covered by the Contract;
“That on the 23rd of December, 2021 after the agreement was signed, Managing Director Phantom Digital Technology Services Limited delivered Four(4) nos of Mikano ZNA Rich6 4 X 4 Petrol Pickup- vehicle 241 Engine at the rate of N22,521,250.00 (New Price) each against the rate of N19,500,000 (Old Price) to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, who took delivery of same;
“That to give effect to the new price, Managing Director Phantom Digital Technology Services Limited in a letter dated 17th February, 2022 to The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment, informed the Ministry that the prices of the vehicle rose from N19,500,000 to N22,500,000 as a result of their delays in procurement process which lasted from 5th July to 14th December, 2021;
“That Managing Director Phantom Digital Technology Services Limited informed the Ministry that the total amount of the fourteen vehicles is now to be N353,097,500 against former price of N315,297,500.00 approved price, hence he applied for additional payment of N37,800,000.00 as the additional sum to be paid before he will supply the additional one(1) vehicle remaining;
That Mr. Emmanuel Ina in a Memo T/FAL/23614/5.3042/1/30 informed the Permanent Secretary of the delivery of eleven(11) Mikano Pickups from Phantom Digital Technology Services in addition to the two earlier supplied making it a total of thirteen (13) and stated clearly to the Permanent Secretary that the remaining one(1) Vehicle will be delivered by the contractor.
“That the Memo T/FAL/23614/5.3042/1/30, also proposed the distribution the vehicles to different departments of the Ministry and captured the remaining one(1) vehicle yet to be delivered by the Company;
“That Mr. Uchola Emmanuel Ina in anticipation of the remaining one Vehicle yet to be delivered on 31st December, 2021 wrote a letter requesting for funds to be released for the fourteen vehicle to be registered but was directed by the Permanent Secretary in his Minuting dated 21/01/22 to stay action pending when Honourable Minister Commissions same;
“That while all these were pending Mr. Uchola Emmanuel Ina retired as a Director, General Services on 5th March, 2022, while Abubakar Dangaladima retired earlier as Director Weights and Measures on the 5th of June, 2021 from Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment;
“That Mr. Abubakar Dangaladima and Mr. Uchola Emmanuel Ina while proceeding on retirement took away the Prado Jeep with registration number 11A-18-FG and Toyota Hilux with Registration number 11A-70-FG respectively belonging to the Ministry based on the claim, that it was auctioned to them;
“That the auctioneers receipt dated 13th October, 2021 which Mr. Uchola Emmanuel Ina claimed was issued to him for the Boarding of the vehicle is irreconcilable with the Treasury receipt as the auctioneer receipt should have preceded the Treasury Receipt; That upon issuing several Police invitations to Mr. Abubakar Dangaladima, he returned the Prado Jeep with registration number 11A-18-FG to the Ministry while and Mr. Uchola Emmanuel Ina returned the Toyota Hilux with Registration number 11A-70-FG belonging to the Ministry to the Police which has been returned to the Ministry;
“That the Ministry cannot substantiate their allegation that Mr. Uchola Emmanuel Ina took away new Mikano ZNA Rich6 4 X 4 Petrol Pickup vehicle as the Ministry is having procurement issues with the supplier who has refused to supply the remaining one vehicle;
“Obvious that; From the findings, it is; There has been procurement misunderstanding between Phantom Digital Technology Services Limited and the Ministry over the supply of the remaining one (1) Mikano ZNA Rich6 4 X 4 Petrol Pickup as a result of non-consideration of the variation brought by the Company which involves the payment of additional sum of N37,800,000.00, due to change in price at the Market.
“And in the course of the procurement imbroglio, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry consciously directed and mandated Mr. Uchola Emmanuel (Director General Services) and D. A. Muhammad (Director Legal Services) to execute the said Contract Agreement dated 14 December, 2021 on her behalf, which is in contravention of Section 20 (1) of the Public Procurement Act 2007 which mandates the Accounting officer of every procuring entity to have overall responsibility for the planning of, organization of tenders, evaluation of tenders and execution of all procurements;
“The decision of Mr. Abubakar Dangaladima and Mr. Uchola Emmanuel Ina, to takeaway Prado Jeep with registration number 11A- 18-FG and Toyota Hilux with Registration number 11A-70-FG respectively, belonging to the Ministry upon their retirement cannot be justified as they could not provide evidence of boarding same to them.”