Emmanuel, Akpabio in War of Words over N25.4 bn Hotel Project
Okon Bassey in Uyo
Controversy has continued to trail the N25.4 billion Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene in Akwa Ibom State as the state government has rejected the claim by Senator Godswill Akpabio that the project was 98 per cent completed by the time his administration vacated office.
The state government said yesterday said the project, which Akpabio inaugurated before leaving office in 2015 was without a signed Franchise agreement and full complement of requisite furniture and fittings.
“95 per cent of the total contract sum was approved and disbursed by the immediate past governor as building and site improvement cost. The worldwide standard for building and site improvement cost component of a full-service four-star hotel in an emerging market is 64 per cent of the total cost of the hotel- hospitality valuation services (HSV).
“We challenge immediate past governor to validate his claims of having fulfilled the requisite contractual obligations with Starwood Hotel & Resort for the Four Points by Sheraton franchise by publishing a copy of the signed management agreement.
“When was the agreement signed? Who were the signatories and witnesses to the transaction? Which Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) was used in signing the agreement before vacating office.
“The SPV that manages the transaction on behalf of the Akwa Ibom State Government; Raffia City Hotels and Tours Limited was incorporated on June 11, 2015; more than one month after Senator Akpabio had commissioned the hotel.
The statement challenged Akapbio to also publish a copy of the Certificate of Incorporation of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) he used for the transaction in order to set the record straight.
The statement signed by the state commissioner for Information and strategy, Mr. Charles Udoh said it was regrettable for Akpabio, a lawyer by profession to paint an unpalatable picture of mischief to present an unsigned and unverified press statement in the media as evidence of a legal contractual obligation on a high networth project as one in question.
“This is a brazen and unremorseful attempt at demeaning the intelligence of the good people of Akwa Ibom State.