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Wabote dragged to EFCC over NCDMB projects fund disbursement

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Simbi Wobote

A former member of the Federal House of Representative from Bayelsa State, Isreal Sunny-Goli, has filed a petition before the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), over the need for a thorough investigation into the controversies surrounding the payment of $35 million for projects in the state.

According to Daily Post, the projects include the Brass Fertilizer and Petrochemical Company Limited, the Atlantic International Refinery & Petrochemical Limited, as well as the Brass Petroleum Product Terminal Limited.

Recall that the House of Representative Committee on Local Content, led by its chairman, Boma Goodhead, recently launched a probe into the alleged payment of the sum of $35 million, with 40 per cent equity, to a company with a registration value of N10 million.

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During the probe, the Committee accused the former management team of the Nigerian Content and Development Monitoring Board, NCDMB, headed by erstwhile Executive Secretary, Simbi Wabote, of showing signs of alleged financial recklessness for investing a total of N14 billion for shares to a company one year after it was registered in 2020.

Sunny-Goli, who was a member of the Federal House of Representative representing Brass/Nembe Federal Constituency of Bayelsa State in the 9th Assembly, urged the EFCC to investigate the projects, which are situated within the precinct of Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

He said given his years of active political and communal leadership and by all standards, he is qualified to express concerns about the overall development of his people and to protect same.

Parts of the petition read: “It is on this premise that I hereby wish to forward a petition to the Commission for a thorough investigation and possible prosecution.

“It relates to the disbursement of funds for the Brass Fertilizer and Petrochemical Company Limited, the Atlantic International Refinery & Petrochemical Limited, as well as the Brass Petroleum Product Terminal Limited, all situated within the precinct of Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, during the tenure of the immediate past Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board, (NCDMB), Eng. Simbi Kesiye Wabote.”

Sunny-Goli pointed out that the Brass Fertilizer and Petrochemical Company Limited was a project conceived to establish two trains of 5,000MTPD methanol plants and one train of 500MMscf per day processing plant and associated infrastructure to be sited in Odiama, Brass Island, Bayelsa State, with a total NCDMB equity contribution for this project is $200m.

“With an initial payment of $20m made in May, 2021, and an annual payment of $60m over the period of 3 years. He alleged that the NCDMB Directors involved were the past Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Simbi Wabote and Mohammed Umar with one Mr. Ben Okoye as the Keyman.

“Also the Atlantic International Refinery & Petrochemical Limited: This project was conceived for the establishment of a 2,000bpd Modular Refinery, a jetty facility, and a 2MW power plant in the Brass Free Trade Zone (FTZ), Bayelsa State. With the project current status as nothing tangible has been accomplished on this project, thus making its delivery uncertain and gloomy.

“Its target completion period was 24 months from the date of financial close. Full investment amount of $35m was released in one bullet in October 2020. The Keyman is one Akindele Akintoye and the NCDMB Directors involved are Simbi Wabote and Isaac Yalah. Current Status of Project: The project has stalled and has little or nothing to show for the disbursement made. Delivery timeline is also uncertain.

“Brass Petroleum Product Terminal Limited: The investment was for the establishment of a 50 million-litre facility with a two-way product jetty, automated storage tanks, and loading bay in Brass, Baylesa State. Project was initially conceived to have the NNPC Limited and the NCDMB as shareholders with the private company but was curiously financed by the Simbi-led NCDMB alone. The Keymen involved as NCDMB Directors are Simbi Wabote and Mohammed Umar.

“Current Status of Project: The project for which funds were disbursed in September 2021, has not progressed as expected, and its completion remains not only uncertain but funding by the other shareholders is also not assured,” the petition added.

 

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