House C’ttee Probes Edo Gubernatorial Candidate’s Firm for $16m Fraud

Damilola Oyedele in Abuja

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions on Wednesday opened investigations against a firm co-owned by the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo state, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, for alleged criminal appropriation of $16 million.

The firm, KCA-DEUTAG (Nigeria), has as Directors, Obaseki Godwin of Government House, Edo state, Ostermeier Hans Joachim, with address listed as KM 16, Aba expressway, Port Harcourt, and Vadakkara Manoj Raghavan of Villa No.52, Meadows, Dubai.

The investigation was prompted by a petition, “Complaint of criminal appropriation of the sum of $16 million ( N5.570, 950, 000) only, against the estate of late Chief Humphrey Idisi of blessed memory.”

The petition was submitted on May 24, 2016 by Hon. Lovett Ederin Idisi.
Obaseki owns 36 million shares in the firm, while the late Idisi owned 18 million shares, according to documents of the Corporate Affairs Commission.

The petition noted that on July 30, 2002, KCA-DEUTAG Nigeria Limited entered into a drilling/work over contractual agreement with the late Idisi for which the consideration accruing to him was percentaged-commission on all day rates earned by each of six rigs owned by Idisi.

The contract was renewed by the parties with improvements on the entitlements of the late Idisi putting his commission on the rigs at 3.5 percent on day rate earnings, it read.

The petition added that since Idisi died in 2009, KCA-DEUTAG has failed to transmit his entitlements under the existing agreement to the administrators of his estate.

The letter to the House by the solicitor to the estate of the late Idisi, FSS Ojealaro & Co, said KCA-DEUTAG’s default on payment of the entitlements, amounts to criminal misappropriation, and attempt to circumvent the Local Content Act Provisions.

It added that the position occupied by the late Idisi on the board of the company is yet to be filled, in accordance with the existing agreement.

Obaseki’s counsel, Mr. Olukayode Dada at the hearing however urged the committee to adjourn as a case has been instituted to determine if the House can investigate a matter which is a contractual agreement between KCA-DEUTAG and the late Idisi.

His claim was backed by the committee chairman, Hon. Nkem Abonta who disclosed that an Abuja High Court has asked the committee to appear on July 28, 2016 to determine if the House can investigate the matter.

Hon. Lovett Idisi however argued for the doctrine of separation of powers, and that an arm of government cannot stop another from its constitutional roles.

He urged Abonta to continue the hearing as he, Abonta, was yet to be personally served with the notice of court process.

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