A team of consultants engaged by the Akwa Ibom State Government to execute the construction of the now litigation-prone government house complex in Uyo, have dragged Arc. Ime Ekpo,
to the ICPC over alleged misappropriation of over 4bn Naira fees for appointed consultants.
Ime Ekpo, a former Director of Housing and current Commissioner for Lands and Town Planning who is also the General Overseer of God’s Own Ministry International, Akpan Essien Street, Uyo, represented the Supervising Ministry of Housing and Urban Renewal then. So he was directly the technical resource person interfacing with consultants and contractors, paying fees to consultants. It is allegedly noted that the said Ime Ekpo continued to supervise the project even after his retirement from the Akwa Ibom State Civil Service making him a retiree who deployed his privileged confidential information in his position as Director of Housing in his private company in the same project. As a Director, he supervised Government House construction and did same as a retired person using his private company.
The head of Otto Trinity Studios, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Arc. Ubokutom Nyah, who instituted the petition on behalf of four other consultants that were engaged in the construction of Government House complex, phases I, II, III, Uyo where Architect Ekpo was said to have committed the fraud.
The petition dated August 24, 2017 which was made available to newsmen in Uyo yesterday tagged, “Petition against Architect Ime O. Ekpo for corrupt enrichment, abuse of office and fraudulent conversion of more than N4 billion consultancy fees during execution of Government House Complex, phase I, II and III in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State into private coffers”.
Architect Nyah in the petition addressed to the Chairman of the ICPC, Abuja pointed out that, in 2013 the immediate past state administration of Senator Godswill Akpabio awarded a contract for the construction of a new Government House at N37 billion.
The contract, he said was to be executed in three phases namely phase l, ll and lll respectively with four consultants namely Otto Trinity Studios (Architects), Amana Consortium (Structural/Project Manager), Eno Iwoketo and Associate (Mechanical), Dranibs Engineering Nigeria Ltd (Electrical) and Integrated Practice Consultants (Quality Surveyors) appointed for the project.
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The petitioner, who was appointed Lead Architectural consultant by the state government over the Government House project said that, the professional fees of the consultants were discussed, agreed and N5.2 billion made available for the payment of consultancy services to the consultants.
The consultancy fees was said to have been moved by the state government to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc account under the contract agreement for onward disbursement to the beneficiaries.
Nyah explained that it was from the pool of funds that he, (Architect Ekpo) drew and administered same, but regretted that all the consultants in the project were short-changed with the balance allegedly pocketed.
According to him, “The substantial disparity between what Architect Ime Ekpo is now offering us as balance of professional fees payable and over authentic claims is deserving of a dispassionate investigation because, we all know that authentic fees were captured in the contract and fully provided for by government.
“We do not know how it suddenly developed wings when Architect Ekpo collected same for payment to us. Please kindly investigate thoroughly to enable us recover our fees and justice done”.
The Commissioner could not be reached for comments at the time of filling this report as his phone was not accessible.