Barely two months to the 2019 general elections, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for the House of Representatives seat in Isoko Federal Constituency, Mr. Joel-Onowakpo Thomas is said to have been embroiled in contract scam running into billions of naira during his reign as the Chairman of the Delta State Board of Internal Revenue (DBIR).
According to impeccable sources, who pleaded not to be named for security reasons, Mr. Onowakpo, allegedly brazenly awarded billions of naira contracts to cronies, family members, friends, and fictitious companies.
“There are series of classified documents obtained from the Delta State Tenders Board showing that Onowakpo shared the contracts for the building of the 16 revenue board buildings across the state with each one costing the state a whooping sum of N256 million while the Data Centre at Koko cost the state well over N400m.
“The contracts were awarded to PatGra Enterprise, Osue-Ona Nigeria Enterprise, Ewoma-Eno Nigeria Enterprises, Vicomech Integrated Resources Nigeria Limited, Egwomira Ventures Nig. Ltd all owned by close associate of Onowakpo, identified as Ambrose Okuhor who is currently one of the Director General of Ithihikpebe Campaign Organization working for the election of Onowakpo Thomas who is one of the major frontiers.
“The documents showed that Ambrose Okuhor, an Architect who is currently arrow head of Joel-Onowakpo’s campaign was a Consultant with the Delta State Board of Internal Revenue (DBIR) where he was collecting well over N4.9m monthly as fees for consultancy with his company Dezachi Associates and Dezachi Construction Limited.
“Arc. Okuhor reportedly used the companies of his Personal Assistants, Bedcon Infracosmic Associates owned by one Owini Obeuwou and Creative Associates owned by one Paul Ikpi among other companies used to siphon funds from where he built his eye popping hotel, Swiss Spirit Hotels (Now Sweet Spirit) along Okpanam Road in Asaba.
“The proceeds belonging to Joel-Onowakpo was channelled into the building of the Best Western Hotel, Elomaz along DBS Road Asaba. It is interesting to note also that the cost of landscaping of the buildings were more expensive than that of the main buildings otherwise how do we explain the fact that those buildings were built at a whooping sum of N256m each.?”, one of the impeccable sources queried.
Other sources who confided in our correspondent however revealed that already, petitions have since been written to the Delta state government to as a matter of urgency, set up an inquiry to investigate the award of contracts during the tenure of Joel-Onowakpo as Chairman of DBIR with a view to charging him and his associates for fraud and looting of Delta State treasury.
“I can also confirm to you that similar petitions have been written to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to take appropriate actions against Mr. Onowakpo because, he who come to equity must come with clean hands. All these revelations have thrown Onowakpo Campaign Organisation into confusion as he is no longer seen as a saint that he made people.”, another source who is familiar with the issues stated.