Group Tackles Benin-Owena River Basin Authority over Alleged Financial Misappropriation

Adibe Emenyonu in Benin-city

A group, Southern Youth Assembly of Nigeria (SYAN), and the management of the Benin Owena River Basin Development Authority (BORDA) yesterday differed on alleged financial misappropriation by the authority, as the group appealed to the federal government to investigate activities in the Authority.

Nevertheless, the Managing Director of the BORDA, Mr. Saliu Ahmed, denied the allegations, saying that the Authority has been run within existing regulations, and that the allegations were frivolous and deliberately being orchestrated to bring down the Authority under him.

A protest letter signed by the Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of SYAN, Armstrong Ovie-Afabor, accused the management of BORBDA of alleged mismanagement of funds, arbitrary award of contracts, payment for unauthorised foreign trips, extra budgetary expenditure among several other allegations.

In the letter to the Minister of Water Resources, Chief of Staff to the President, and Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, Ovie-Afabor said there have also been wrong appointments into BORDA and payments for several contracts allegedly not executed.

The petition noted that several amounts of money running into millions of naira were vired from irrigation projects to other areas without recourse to due processes and, therefore, called on the supervising ministry to initiate an investigation into the activities of the BORDA.

But reacting to the allegation, Ahmed said the petitioners had earlier recruited a different group for this and now came under a new group.

According to him, “The issues raised have been addressed before when they petitioned the minister, and there was nothing like staff preferential treatment.”

On abuse of due process in contract award, he said: “That is not also true; it is all misrepresentation of facts. There are processes of awarding contracts, I have my threshold as the Chief Executive, and beyond my threshold, there is a Parastatal’s Tender’s Board where contracts are awarded, and in some rare cases, when it was beyond the threshold of the tender’s board, we had to go to the ministerial tender’s board.”

Continuing, he said: “There is absolutely no award of contract that has not gone through these processes, and on two or three instances, we had even gone to the Federal Executive Council (FEC).”

Related Articles