After about 10 months of shifting many appointments, former Aviation Minister Stella Oduah yesterday appeared before an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) panel.
She was grilled for about eight hours by detectives over a N9, 443,549,531.25 contract awarded to I-Sec Security Nigeria Limited for the procurement and installation of security equipment in 22 airports.
She showed up as the agency got set to declare her wanted.
A United States (U.S.) firm, Psybernetix Limited, has alleged that the ex-minister hijacked the contract for a firm in which she has a stake.
The EFCC may invite the representatives of the US company to testify against Mrs. Oduah, it was learnt yesterday.
According to a source, Mrs Oduah, who arrived at the EFCC Abuja office at about 11am, was immediately taken to a team of detectives for interrogation.
The source, who pleaded not to be named, said: “After shifting many appointments in the last 10 months, Sen. Stella Oduah came for grilling on the N9, 443,549,531.25 contracts awarded to I-Sec Security Nigeria Limited for the procurement and installation of security equipment in 22 airports across the country.
“We invited her since 13th June, 2017 but she kept giving excuses. We were about to declare her wanted when she appeared before our team.
“The allegations against her include non-execution of the project in some airports, abandonment of the contract in a few ones, diversion of part of the contract sum and suspected case of money laundering.
“We have taken her statement and from this preliminary interrogation, she will still need to come again because many people and organisations are coming up with figures.”
Psybernetix Limited was originally awarded the contract. It alleged that the contract was unilaterally awarded to I-Sec Ltd without any approval by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
The firm, in a status report obtained by The Nation, said: “We are a successful and experienced US-based Firm of National security Consultants, with projects across the world.
“We also have an office in Abuja, amongst other strategic world capitals. Aviation Security, being one of our areas of practice, we wrote the 88-page proposal for the Nigerian project under reference, spent millions of dollars bringing in various experts to make presentations in Nigeria, local logistics, travel, and sundry fees.
“Our senior executives lived at the Abuja Hilton for over a year, working exclusively on securing these contracts.
“We still have the original award letters, but we had to walk away from the projects two days to the full (100 %) disbursement of the contract value, as approved by the President in writing, because of the outrageous, brazen, extortionate, and criminal demands made.
“The question that should interest all serious-minded people should be: Why did Psybernetix that had spent a lot of money and time chasing these two contracts reject the contracts two days before the full payment for the first contract (N9.4 billion) was to be made?
“ We wasted a year and a lot of money chasing these opportunities, but our principles dictated that we should not accept Ms. Oduah’s demands.
“One of her principal demands was to engage a newly-incorporated company with zero experience in Security, Program Management, Project Management, or Global Logistics, as our technical partners. On what basis really? What impudence?
“ She also wanted us to issue post-dated cheques totaling several billions of Naira in favor of this her preferred company (I-Sec Ltd, as well as Zuren Ltd), front companies belonging to her friend and business partner, Walter Wagbotsama.
“This man has just been jailed in the UK for international money laundering and fraud. His associates are still in Nigeria, and we know them all. We know her bankers and all their modus operandi. These details have been shared with our Attorneys in the US and Nigeria, as well as certain law enforcement agencies in the US.
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