A firm is threatening to fight former Kaduna State military governor Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar (rtd) for describing its job as a scam.
Calabar Channel Management (CCM) Company Limited Managing Director, Bart Van Eenoo is demanding ”an immediate apology and a retraction” from Umar, otherwise the former governor would ”leave our company with no other option than to seek legal redress as the statement has cast aspersion on our integrity”.
According to him, Umar, in a recent statement, described the contract for the management of the Calabar Channel awarded to CCM by the Federal Government as “a bogus scam to siphon public funds.”
Eenoo, in a statement in Abuja, said it was disheartening that Umar, “a leading national figure could spurn lies on a legal entity without verifiable facts.”
He stated that contrary to the claims of the former military governor, “our company has dredged the water channel by deploying dredgers, survey vessels, buoyage tender, wreck removal cranes and other ancillary marine crafts.
“So far, 16.3 kilometres out of the envisaged 20 kilometres high spots within Tomshort Island had been dredged with the deepening of the channel to 6.5 metres datum”.
It was “absurd” he added, that the firm could be accused of scamming the government, “when our partners- Boskalis and Westminster Dredging, internationally acclaimed companies are involved.
“All the stakeholders at the Calabar Port including the NPA’s Station Manager in Calabar then, had alluded to the fact that CCM carried out appreciable work on the dredging until the disruption of work by the NPA.”
He continued: “Even some of the stakeholders were always aboard the dredgers during the cause of the dredging to have a feel of the work done.
“It is, therefore, not correct that we did not carry out any dredging at the Calabar Channel”.
Citing examples of the work done by CCM, he said the firm on August 20, 2015, through its bankers UBA, paid $1,207,440 to Dredging International Services for crewing and provision of logistics at the Calabar channel for nine weeks, $500,000 to Nigerian Westminster Dredging and Marine for dredging services at the Channel and $3,600,000 to Societe de Dragage for dredging services.
“If the former military governor is alleging that we did not dredge the Channel, why did our company pay for the services of these companies even when our invoices with the NPA were not paid?
“We have spent more on the dredging than what NPA has so far paid us”, he said.
On the allegation that the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) in its report on the Joint Venture Contract (JVC) advised against the dredging of the Calabar Channel, Eenoo said the transaction has a “No Objection Certificate” signed by the former Director-General of the BPP, Emeka Eze.
According to him, a former Board Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) had written to former President Goodluck Jonathan against the project and Jonathan referred the matter to the BPP.
He said after evaluation, the BPP issued the “No Objection Certificate” and said the complaint by the former Board Chairman of the NPA “was merely personal differences which it advised should not affect the integrity of the project. The former Chairman also wrote to withdraw the petition.”