The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in what appears a breach of procurement laws, awarded a contract worth N1.028 billion for road construction to Jocarl Investment Limited, a poultry firm.
This is even as the company deals solely in poultry farming and has no known capacity to undertake road construction, with no trace or record to have constructed any road.
Also, online checks show Jorcal Investment Limited on Facebook as a company that deals in poultry products; layers, broilers and eggs.
Under the deal, NDDC awarded the construction of Nonwa-Bunutai-Afam Ukwu –Afam NTA Road in River State to Jocarl Investment Limited.
Although the contract was awarded to the company at the sum of N1,027,724,775.00, NDDC paid N917 million as the contract fee and could not account for N144 million, the 2008-2018 NDDC audit carried out by the Auditor-General shows.
In the report, the office of the AuGF observed that the company was paid for work poorly done, even as another government agency had to takeover, complete and deliver the project.
Documents obtained from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) by MAWA Foundation in response to a Freedom of Information FOI request regarding the status of Jocarl Investment Limited, shows the company has no record to have carried out work on road construction.
The CAC documents show that the company registered on December 14, 2000, with its operational office at No.9 Eastern Byepass Ogbunabali in Port Harcourt the Rivers State capital, has Mr. Amaechi Lemchi, Mr. Amaechi Obinna, Mr. Amaechi Chikampa, and Mrs. Amaechi Judith Obiajulu as shareholders.
When the foundation sought the company’s explanation regarding the contract award, its official who spoke on the telephone, said the company deals in poultry and has nothing to do with road construction.
Denying its involvement in the contract, the official said
“As a matter of fact, Jocarl is not a construction company, it is a poultry company, we deal in breeding chicks for people that are rearing fowls and sell eggs”.
Two procurement experts who spoke on the issue, said the award of road construction to a company that prides itself as a Poultry Company by the NDDC shows the commission did not follow due process in the contract award and selection of the contractor. And, this is even as the Procurement Act 2007 and Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, are both legislations that criminalize breach of procumbent process in Nigeria.
When officials of the foundation visited the project site located at Tai-Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State, it was discovered that the project was completed and delivered about six years ago, as stated in the AuGF report by another government agency other than the contractor.
A group of community residents led by Mr. Tanko who prefers only his first name, confirmed that the road linking about six communities was completed and delivered to the community about six years ago.
Credit: Ripples Nigeria