A firm based in Delta State that is engaged in Designs, Construction And Engineering Company, Zap Nigeria Limited has denied the report of alledged theft of N460 million from the coffers of the Nigeria Maritime University Okerenkoko in connivance with the former Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ongoebi Etebu and the former Chairman of governing council, Chief Timipre Sylva, current Minister of State Petroleum Resources.
Recall that an online medium had carried a story of the alleged looting of the institution’s funds by the former Vice Chancellor Professor Ongoebi Etebu and the former Chairman of governing council Timipre Sylva
The Company through its representative, Arc. Azaiye Piniki noted that “the attention of the Management of Azap Nigeria Limited has been drawn to the spurious publication by your news organization alleging theft/embezzlement of the sum of Four Hundred and Sixty Million Naira (N460m) from Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State vide contracts allegedly awarded to our Company”.
In a letter written to the online newspaper which was made available to Journalists , disclosed that the company is a reputable Limited Liability Company incorporated under the Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, carrying on a wide range of businesses including architectural services, electrical services, construction and civil engineering services for both the public and private sectors.
Piniki further said that “The allegations contained in your publication are false, misleading, embarrassing and vexatious. Your publication is aimed at scandalizing the image of our company and defaming the good reputation of our Company and amounts to criminal false misstatement and publication.
“To put the records straight and for the benefit of the general public, we wish to state that our Company was contracted by Mieka Dive Nigeria Ltd to build the entire University Campus. No other contractor was engaged due to the fact that Mieka Dive Nigeria Ltd had implicit confidence in our Company and our ability to deliver considering our capacity, competences and knowledge of the environment as well as our established relationship with the host communities.
“We practically built that campus from the scratch by constructing male hostel, female hostel, I-storey lecture halls complex, canteen, medical centre, 1 – storey – 1 bedroom residence, I-storey self-contained apartment complex, I – storey – 2 bedroom flats, 1-Nos bungalow ,library complex, 1-storey offices, 1-storey admin block and pavilion before approval was given for the campus to be taken over by the Federal Government”.“ When the University was established, the University applied directly to Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) for a CERTIFICATE OF NO OBJECTION to cover the external works, walkways, rigid pavement, generator house, perimeter fence, swimming pool works, diving tank works, 2-storey laboratory complex, concrete landing jetty, etc.
” This application was granted by BPP. Based on the said approval, we were awarded these contracts in the University. We executed these projects in accordance with the specifications required under supervision of officials of Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko and National Universities Commission.“ Excellency, Chief Timipre Sylva and the Vice-Chancellor, Engr. Prof. (Mrs.) Maureen Orubide Etebu did not at any time demand for and did not receive any form of gratification from us.6. We have always carried out jobs with the utmost professionalism and patriotism, in accordance with established standards and get rewarded for jobs duly executed.
“We could not have, in all honesty, lowered our hard-earned corporate integrity to deliver shoddy jobs to any of our clients. Your allegation of substandard jobs and undue payment receipts, are false, misleading, and without foundation.”He warned that “You are hereby advised in your own interest, to retract this fake news and tender unreserved apology to all those you have by your malicious publication, defamed”.
Investigations revealed that the former VC Prof Etebu never breached the thresholds for approvals as alleged in the reports , because the BPP’s approved revised thresholds for service wide -application indicates that payments were done within the limits of the accounting officer.
It was also gathered that the former VC , Prof Etebu’s five – years tenure elapsed on 25 May, 2020 having been appointed in 2015 by the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration , while the governing council was dissolved on the elevation of the Chairman of the council , chief Timipre Sylva as Minister of State Petroleum resources.