…….hints at plea bargain if Obaseki makes offer
…. Hospital staff narrates how equipment were moved out at night immediately after Buhari commissioned project
Barely one week after the Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, received the Report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the construction of Edo Specialist Hospital and Supply of its Equipment, the contractor in the middle of what has been described as the biggest contract fraud in the state’s recent history, Madam Golda Osikhena, has vowed not to go down alone if convicted.
Close associates of the once powerful girlfriend of the former governor, Adams Oshiomhole, told this reporter that Golda is weighing accepting a plea bargain if Obaseki will make her the offer.
Last week, Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry, Justice James Oyomire while presenting the Report of the Commission to the governor, said the Benin Specialist Hospital contract was fraught with breaches of the state’s laws.
He declared that the immediate past administration paid 75 per cent (N3.5 billion) of the contract sum (N5 billion) upfront, for the project to Vamed Engineering, in contravention of the procurement law that clearly states that any contractor working on a government project should not receive more than 25 per cent upfront payment upon contract award.
Receiving the Report, Obaseki assured that his administration would ensure that anyone found culpable, no matter how highly placed, will be called to account for their actions.
Obaseki’s posture with regard to the Benin Specialist Hospital contract has since sent bouts of the jitters across the Adams Oshiomhole’s political camp, with Madam Golda Osikhena, known as Oshiomhole’s girlfriend, and who was given the N3.5billion for the hospital project, threatening to sing, in the event she is handed a jail term.
While the tension being generated by the Commission’s revelation heightens, thenewspanorama’s investigations showed that the equipment displayed for commissioning by President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2016, shortly before Oshiomhole handed over power to Obaseki, were moved out by heavily guarded trucks in the wee hours, few days after the live telecast of the 7-Star Hospital project commissioning.
A medical doctor, who was on duty when the equipment were being shipped out of the hospital told this reporter in confidence: ” I was on night duty on that fateful night and I heard sounds of activities at the new wing of the Benin Specialist Hospital, so I took a walk
down there just to check things out for myself.
“On getting to the entrance, I met heavily armed mobile policemen who demanded who I was, in a very harsh tone. I told them that I was a doctor on duty and wanted to check what was happening at the new wing of the hospital. While I was explaining all that, I saw people moving equipment that were commissioned only days before by president Buhari, into a waiting truck.
“The mobile policeman, sensing that I was watching events at the scene, cut me short and ordered me back to where I came from or he would shoot me. Though I was not moved by the threat because as a doctor, I don’t fear death of any kind, I have seen enough of it to be threatened with it. But I heeded his directive and walked back to my office in the old wing of the hospital.”
The doctor’s story further validates claims among members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who are familiar with trends around the phantom specialist hospital construction contract.
An aide to Governor Obaseki, told thenewspanorama that the last has not been heard of the hospital contract, adding, “more revelations are emerging daily and it is beginning to look like, Madam Golda was only a front for the same former governor Oshiomhole, who approved the upfront payment, in contravention of the state’s procurement law.
“Madam Golda could not have executed this heist without her boyfriend, Adams Oshiomhole.
“Oshiomhole is too smart to be duped of N3.5 billion of the state’s funds. The story is still evolving and we are waiting for the point when Madam Golda will sing and mention names of other beneficiaries of the sleaze.”