Alleged N998m scam: Group, Ibadan-based broadcaster exchange words over EFCC invitation

A group, Grassroots for Itesiwaju Ipinle Oyo, and an Ibadan-based radio presenter, Oriyomi Hamzat, on Sunday, exchanged words over the alleged invitation of latter by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on the N998 million exercise book awarded to him by the Oyo State government.

The PUNCH reports that a review of the Oyo State Open Contracting portal done by Dataphyte showed that secondary school notebook contracts worth N998m awarded between August 2019 and December 2020 have been subject to contract inflation, fraudulent contract bidding and contract ambiguity.

The group, in a statement by its convener, Bello Razaq, alleged that Hamzat had escaped to France to evade arrest by the commission over the contract.

Razaq said, “The contract, awarded in three batches, is to supply customised notebooks to secondary schools in the state. The first set of 12 contracts totalling N456.504 million was awarded on August 28, 2019.

“The second set was awarded in June 2020, with a total value of N94.196 million and described as the “production of second batch exercise books for students of public secondary schools in the state.

“The third set awarded in December 2020 at N446.370 million was for the supply of 212,505 copies of 60 leaves’ notebooks. The description stated that the notebooks are meant for the 2020/2021 session of public secondary schools in the state.

“It was true for someone to get insane if he sees money that is beyond his mental capacity. The recent video of Oriyomi campaigning for his paymaster and calling other candidates names reflected his poor understanding of ethics of a noble profession of journalism.”

The group said it has information that men of EFCC had, last Monday, visited his office with the aim of picking him up but he had travelled before their arrival based on the advice of the state governor.

Reacting to the allegation through a WhatsApp call, on Sunday, Hamzat, who started laughing for almost two minutes having listened to the question, said, “It was the handiwork of a faceless and opposition group whose office address may not be visible or located within the state. But they will dearly pay for it if the office is located.

“Let them give or show you the evidence that EFCC invited me. EFCC has never written to or invited me. I came here for a professional conference. I’m on the radio every day. I’ve done one this morning and nobody has ever told me from the office that the EFCC came or brought a letter to the office.

“I know what is disturbing them. Because I publicly endorsed Seyi Makinde for the second term yesterday. They know my political value and weight. I sought people’s opinions and discovered that they are for “Makinde L’ekan si, Makinde once more” and I then go along with the masses’ choice. Electorates choice. So, what is the problem there?

“Let me tell you point blank, I, Oriyomi Hamzat, have never in my life been involved in any fraudulent act that links myself with EFCC.” He insisted.

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