There seems to be tension in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as some of its members under the aegis of Concerned Edo PDP Stakeholders have written a petition to the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) over alleged diversion of state funds by Governor Godwin Obaseki.
The concerned members called on the ICPC to investigate the governor on allegations that he awarded contracts to AfriInvest Limited, which is said to be owned by Gov. Obaseki.
The petition was signed by Andrew Egboigbe, a PDP member in Ward 3, Orhionmwon LGA of Edo.
The letter seen by The Street Journal was submitted to the ICPC on Monday, August 3.
In the petition, titled: “Petition against the unfairly advantageous awarding of Edo State Contracts to Afrinvest Limited by Mr. Godwin Obaseki”, the concerned PDP members alleged that the governor did not only abuse his office but also disregarded constitutional power and inflated contracts.
The petition read in part:
“We, as concerned Edo indigenes, who have no other place to call our home except Edo state, file this honest petition against Mr Godwin Obaseki, the governor of the state and his firm, Afrinvest Ltd following revelations from reliable sources of unfair advantage the governor bestowed upon the firm using accumulated state funds meant for developmental works and projects.”
The petitioners who noted that a sitting governor is immune to arrest called on the ICPC to swing into action.
“We, therefore, call on the ICPC to investigate the suspected contravention of Section 19 of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) Act, 2000 by Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State.
The petitioners said that even though Obaseki stepped down as the Chairman of Afrinvest’s Board of Directors in 2016 prior to assuming office as governor, he handed over to one Mr Ike Cijoke who is his strong ally.
“To begin with, and to aid your investigation into the matter, we wish to state certain facts concerning the established ties between Mr Godwin Obaseki and Afrinvest Limited.
“-That Mr Godwin Obaseki founded Afrinvest in 1994 and only stepped down from his position as chairman of its Board of Directors in 2016 when it became impossible for him to remain so as the governor of the state.
“-That Mr Obaseki’s voluntary stepdown was followed by the immediate appointment of one Ike Chijoke, who remains answerable to the governor and is no more than a placeholder and a marionette through whom Mr Godwin Obaseki maintains firm grip and control over Afrinvest Limited,” the petitioners said.
The concerned petitioners who said Mr Obaseki and his company managed to stay above the water prior to becoming governor, gave an account of who he abused his office.
“On one specific occasion, Obaseki, single-handedly, without the approval of his cabinet and legislative arm of government, awarded a N1.8 billion naira consultation contract on water storm project to Afrinvest Ltd., without the justification of the sum and the nature of the contract. This, when established, will find the governor in contravention of Section 19 of the ICPC Act 2000.”
They also alleged that since 2016, Obaseki increased the security votes of Edo state to 7.5 billion Naira; and this huge sum had been deposited in Afrinvest Ltd bank account.
The petitioners urged the ICPC to investigate if stashed funds and other profits are what Obaseki used as startup capital to resuscitate PRIMUS bank.
PRIMUS Bank is currently seeking approval to operate as a regional bank.
“That the ICPC in line with its core mandate should examine the practices, systems, and procedures of public bodies and where, in the opinion of the commission, such practices, systems born procedures aid or facilitate fraud or corruption, to direct and supervise a review of them,” the petition added.
See a copy of the petition below