Three South East Governors have been issued a 21- day ultimatum to start a probe of multi-million dollar contracts awarded to firms belonging to Anambra-born businessman, Prince Arthur Eze.
The governors include Chief Willie Obiano of Anambra State, Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State and Sen Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State.
Two of the major contracts financed by the Cote d’Ivoire-based African Development Bank (AFDB) were awarded in 1991 for rural water supply in old Anambra State.
A statement released in Enugu and jointly signed by Joseph Onwe, Ikem Onwudiwe and Chief Chukwuemeka Nwodo, President, Deputy and secretary respectively and top officials of the South East Development Initiative indicated that three states had been paying loans and accruing interests through direct deductions from their federation accounts without the concerned benefiting from the proposed infrastructure.
The statement partly reads: “The two contracts were awarded to Kings Engineering Company and Triax Engineering both located in New Haven, Enugu, and owned by Prince Arthur Eze.
“Not less than 80 percent of the contract sums were paid for in U.S. dollars and the remaining 20percent in Nigeria currency.
“There was also a third contract financed by the same AFDB which the old Anambra State government awarded: this is the building of an Industrial Development Center (IDC) to be situated in Awka, today’s capital of the new Anambra State.”
According to the statement, the AFDB financed contracts were for rural water in many communities I’m old Anambra State.
It added that the markup in contracts by international firms like Shell and Exon Mobil was usually ten percent, but the profit margin for each of the contracts was twenty percent.
“This was really huge, all the more so since payment was guaranteed it is therefore shocking to realise that the contracts running into millions of dollars were not executed.
“You owe the people of Ebonyi, Enugu, and Anambra stated the duty to explain to them what became of the contract.
“Afterall, huge amounts are subtracted monthly from your state’s ‘entitlements from the federation allocation accepted to pay for the loans plus interest.
“And the deductions will go on for twenty and half years. There was an initial moratorium of five years on the loans.
“It is remarkable enough that your states have been paying for the loans and interest rates straight from the monthly allocations from the federation account without knowing why.
“You may not even know that the terrible execution of the AFDB contracts led to the inglorious exit of Bubakar Ndiaye, a Senegalese National from the AFDB as its chief executive.
“The AFDB stakeholders were scandalized that instead of ensuring the proper execution of the huge contracts, the AFDB Managing Director flew from the bank’s headquaters in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, to Enugu on Arthur Eze’s 727Boeing aircraft.
“Worse, the AFDB went to Eze’s residence in Enugu and began to praise him without seeing the jobs being done.
“Your Excellencies, the unconscionable abuse of the AFDB loans to old Anambra State running into millions of dollars is too grave a matter to be swept under the carpet.
“Consequently, we demand that you investigate this economic rape of our people, their children’s children since 1991.”
While saying that two weeks should be enough to start action regarding the issue, it added that at the expiration of twenty days, it will be compelled to take the matter to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as well as President Muhammadu Buhari for prompt action
By PAMELA EBOH, Awka
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