Transcorp MD in EFCC net



 

LEADERSHIP

SSS Quizzes Okereke-Onyiuke     – Transcorp MD in EFCC net  

Written by Golu Timothy, and Lilian Agih, Abuja    
Thursday, 14 May 2009 02:16 

The State Security Service  yesterday drilled the controversial Board Chairman of the Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp), Mrs. Ndidi Okereke-Onyiuke, over the alleged scam rocking the business conglomerate.

A top security source confided in our correspondent that Okereke-Onyiuke was invited to the SSS headquarters yesterday to answer some questions regarding the controversies and allegations of fraud involving the top hierarchy of the company.

“Yes, she was invited to appear today in connection with what is currently going on there; and I can confirm to you that she honoured the invitation and appeared before our investigators”, the source said.

As at the time of going to press last night, the bulky Director-General of the Nigeria Stock Exchange was still in the custody of the SSS and may be handed over to the EFCC today after conclusion of questioning.

Isegholi was accused of using fronts to dupe the company of $75 million monthly through his own company, Global Employment Solution Incorporated. He was also said to have spent not less than $150 million monthly on an oil and gas consultancy firm owned by another top director of Transcorp.

The top Transcorp leaders were also accused of using deliberate refusal to submit audited accounts of the company, thereby shortchanging shareholders and also using NITEL/MTEL to siphon money through arranged consultants.

Meanwhile, EFCC on Tuesday night took custody of three top flight officials of the Transcorp Hilton with regards to their role in a N15 billion fraud.

The detained, Iseghohi,  Buba and Okoli, were transferred from the SSS where they were held over a week.

According to a reliable EFCC source, the men are linked to a N15 billion fraud in the corporation bordering on issuance of contracts, payment of professional fees, legal fees and consultancy fees to companies owned by their personal friends and associates.

LEADERSHIP investigations reveal some of the details of the allegations which spanned about three years (2007 to date) thus:

• From 2007 to date $108 million was paid as monthly retainership fees to Ankor Pointe Integrated Ltd to manage Transcorp oil block, which has been revoked by the Federal Government;

• $500,000 was paid from December 2007 to March 2009 to Harmattan Ventures for organising a meeting for the Transcorp GMD outside the country;

• From July 2007 to May 2008, $1.2 m illion was paid into an account domiciled in the United States belonging to Global Employment Solutions Incorporated (GESI) allegedly owned by Iseghohi;

• $100,000 was paid to Global Information Technology Inc. to investigate a fire incident at Nitel Property at Saka Tinubu in Lagos;

•     A total of N205 million as legal fee between May 2007 to September 2008.

The EFCC source further explained that the three officials are being interrogated to ascertain their roles in the alleged fraud.

“These men are in our custody. We took charge of them yesterday evening. We are investigating them over an allegation of N15 billion fraud at Transcorp”, the source explained.

When contacted, the spokesman of the commission, Mr. Femi Babafemi, confirmed the development but declined further comment, saying that investigation was  on-going.

Okoro said the company lawyers, Messers George Etomi and Joe Gadzama (SAN), have been instructed to legally pursue the enforcement of their fundamental human rights with the aim of getting them released immediately or charged to a court of competent jurisdiction.

In a related development, Senator Nicholas Ugbane and the nine others detained in connection with the N6 billion fraud rocking the Rural Electrification Agency of Nigeria (REAN) are being arraigned today.

LEADERSHIP gathered that the 10, who are being charged with criminal conspiracy and breach of trust, will be arraigned before Justice Bangoke at the FCT High Court, Gudu.

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