Group Demands Probe Of Ekiti Governor, Fayemi, Over Alleged Fraudulent Ajaokuta Steel Company Transaction
July 13, 2020
The Ajaokuta Development Anti-corruption Vanguard has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to probe allegations of financial impropriety linked to Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti State, when he served as Minister of Solid Minerals.
The group in a statement by its Coordinator, Stephen Audu, on Monday said the deal was supervised by late former Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari.
It alleged that Fayemi at the time had proposed a technical audit that would determine the actual cost of fixing Ajaokuta Steel Complex to be completed in six weeks.
“Up until today and despite the enormous amount spent, the result of that audit has not been published or made known to members of the public or the legislature,” the group said.
The group added that in 2016 the House of Representatives through a request made by the Ministry of Solid Minerals then headed Fayemi duly appropriated N2,096,500,000 for the concession of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex in the 2017 Budget.
“The ministry engaged the services of some Ukrainian engineers who came down to Nigeria to conduct the technical auditing. Price Waterhouse Coopers was also contracted to collaboratively review the company’s indebtedness and statutory liabilities.
“The current Solid Mineral Minister, Olamilekan Adegbite, recently revealed that the Russian Government was about to carry out another technical audit on Ajaokuta Steel Company, meaning the initial contract awarded by Governor Fayemi was never executed and funds budgeted for the project were misappropriated by then minister.
“Also, It was said that The Society of Engineers was involved in the audits. But in an appearance by the society before the House of Representatives, they went on record to say that that never happened. Up till now, there is no proof that Society of Engineers participated in the audit.
“Now the ministry is about to embark on another round of audit to take money from the system for the same thing that Fayemi claimed to have. Again, Otunba Niyi Adebayo as Minister of Trade and Industry, working with the present minister we learned, has appointed a non-reputable company known as Metprom to do another audit for N5bn,” the group said.
“Under Fayemi over N2bn study which translated to about $6.55 million in 2017, there was indeed an offer by a technically capable company to carry out the same study for a thirteenth of this sum, or $500,000 (Five Hundred thousand US dollars) which was rejected by the minister in favour of his cronies at PWC and some Ukrainian engineers – despite the plant being Russian built.
The group further alleged that, “Fayemi and Engr Ataba, now Sole Administrator of Ajaokuta Steel, alongside others cooked up the need for a technical audit, got money for it; and with the help of a few staff of Ajaokuta steel, put up a shabby document which has since been rejected.
“He also hired his friend’s company- Greenwich, current Minister of Trade from Ekiti, Otunba Niyi Adebayo’s company to consult for the National Ore Company at Itakpe. The former minister and current one were also said to have siphoned billions of naira from that.”
The group therefore called on the anti-graft agency to probe the allegations in the interest of the public.