Refuttal of Story on Sahara Reporters by Tony Eluemunor on "Contract Award to Chi-Chi Okonjo by his sister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala"

I am shocked to read that Sahara Reporters will descend so low to publish an unsubstantiated allegation by an article written by the ex spokesperson of ex-convict James Ibori and a man reputed to have stolen hundreds of millions of dollars from Nigeria without getting the facts right.

It is highly mischievous for anyone to have written that Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala awarded such a contract for a Running Operational Review to her brother. It is a blatant lie and absolutely false. My name was mentioned in the article therefore I will respond with the facts.

Several firms were invited to bid for a secretive analysis of the finances of FCT by then Minister of FCT, Mallam Nasir el Rufai. The Minister had suspected that a lot of fraud was being perpetrated by civil servants and that hundreds of millions of Naira or rather billions were being stolen by these same civil servants. Of all the firms that put in the bid, only two firms accepted to do the work for under N10 million. Other firms declined to do this because of the amount offered for the project. Mallam Nasir el Rufai told us that he had only N10 million to offer for this work. Under normal circumstances, my firm and Mr. Okonjo’s firm ought to have declined this but we were convinced to partner together because our firms were some of the best in the field of forensic investigations. If I recall, Mallam el Rufai mentioned to me that ChiChi Okonjo’s firm helped him uncover massive fraud in the Oil Sector to the tune of over N40 billion when he was DG of BPE. Although we were reluctant because of the paltry pay, we were asked to consider this job a service to the nation. We finally jointly agreed to perform this service for a total of N9.6 million or roughly N10 million.

So many career civil servants were bitter that firms were contacted to investigate the finances of FCT. We faced open hostility because of this. We were asked to work quietly and even offered police protection if we needed it. In the process, we uncovered over N2 billion worth of money misapplied or directly stolen. This we did jointly for N10 million. It is thus, fraudulent for anyone to say that Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala offered her brother this project for N15 million. It is the height of mischief and disrepute. Mr. ChiChi Okonjo’s firm worked excellently with my firm and is one of the few firms known for forensic analysis and due diligence. For a paltry N10 million we discovered over N2 billion in fraud. That is the story! I still have the report on our findings in the FCT.

I finally ask Sahara Reporters to desist from gutter journalism and sensationalism particularly directed at Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala or her family. It is indecent and disgusting.

Bimbo Ogunseitan
Director, Vintage Global Solutions (VGS) and former Senior Special Assistant to the President on Due Process.

Writer responds to Bimbo Ogunseitan here.

Photo description: Mallam Nasir el Rufai

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