Blank NEWS Online unfolds a blow-up account of the recent travails of embattled Director General of Delta state owned construction intervention outfit, Direct Labour Agency (DLA), Mr. Emmanuel Edafe Igbini in the hands of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged multiple and gross financial misappropriation.
Igbini, who has cooled his heels in the anti-graft agency’s dungeon in Port-Harcourt was reported to have been swooped upon by EFCC officials after he had allegedly refused to heed EFCC invitation for questioning.
A dependable source told Blank NEWS Online that, “As I am talking to you now, he is still in EFCC’s net in Port-Harcourt. He got there on Monday, October 28, 2013 and his interrogation commenced on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 over N3.7 Billion fraud of money given to him to intervene on 157 roads which he mismanaged.
“This was a man who once boasted that he is the only Deltan who had willingly submitted himself to EFCC screening. But since September 30, 2013 they gave him an invitation letter but he has been dodging. Some of the Managers were also invited and their statements have been taken.”
Although Igbini in his foxy nature had artfully dodged appearing before the EFCC, luck later ran out of him when his legal counsels told him to heed the invitation or risk being declared wanted by security operatives since he (Igbini) has a very bad case.
The letter inviting Igbini, according to insider sources, was dated September 27, 2013 but was delivered to him on September 30, 2013 while he was supposed to report to the anti-graft agency on October 10, 2013.
The EFCC had in their letter dated September 27, 2013 requested for the income and expenditure registers of DLA, proposed and approved budget since 2011 till date, all approvals directed for payment made by the agency (DLA) from 2011 till date, in a tabular form -list of all the contractors, contracts, Direct Labour jobs and equipment procured since inception of his (Igbini) administration till date, all LPOs approved since your assumption of office, mode of payment, amount paid, payment vouchers, copies of cheques if any, and Auditor’s report.
Blank NEWS Online has also learnt that the EFCC had sucessfully obtained vital financial documents from the Delta state Accountant General‘s office in Asaba and some quoted banks, ahead of Igbini’s invitation to appear before the anti-graft agency to defend the sundry allegations which bothered mostly on fraudulent acts.
Igbini’s initial delay to appear before the EFCC, according to verifiable sources, was to further forge his financial documents, owing to the reason for his appointment of a new finance/accounts manager and auditor ahead of the EFCC visit. The former Accountant was allegedly removed and replaced because he has severally challenged the DG’s financial dealings.
Recall that Blank NEWS Online investigation team has been following up and reporting the activities of the agency, since the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical And Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) picketed the offices of the Direct Labour Agency (DLA) in Asaba.
The DLA chapter of the Union had accused the Director General, Mr. Emmanuel Edafe Igbini of fraud and appealed to the state Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan to urgently sack him.
Igbini is alleged to have misappropriated huge sums of money released by the state government for the purchase of equipment and road maintenance across the state.
A dependable source told Blank NEWS Online that, “He approves, he buys and sell alone. When he assumed office, he inherited over N1bn (One Billion naira) cash, aside equipment and he lied to the state government that he used the monies for the repairs of equipment.
“But now, over N2bn (Two Billion naira) given to him by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan for road intervention and maintenance is now being used by him to purchase scraps to make quick wealth…despite the fact that the agency is a money-spinner.”
According to the Chairman of AUPCTRE in the DLA, Comrade Ifeanyi Chukwurah, “DLA is a Delta state intervention agency on road maintenance but the DG has no respect for constituted institutions and due process which is supposed to be the watchword of every government establishment.
In the same vein, the state chapter of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), under the headship of Comrade Fidel Emeni, had also sealed-up the agency’s office in Asaba, calling for the immediate sack of Igbini by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan.
Blank NEWS Online had reported that Igbini, who has severally been accused of gross financial impropriety to the tune of N3.7 billion, high-handedness in running the affairs of the agency and utter disregard to due process was also said to have turned down series of agreements reached with stakeholders and the Union, including representatives of the state government, as he refused to implement the demands for sustainable peace.
“He has flouted all reasonable agreements. He now operate from the unit offices and went ahead to highhandedly dissolve the branch of DLA union via a newspaper advert after purportedly mobilizing non-union members to pass a vote of no confidence on a democratically elected union, an act which is a flagrant disregard to union rules and regulations. He now runs the affairs of the agency through subversive generosity to dissident staff.”
The various placards on display during the industrial face-off had read: “DLA is a parastatal of government and not a family business, therefore due process must be obeyed”, “Igbini not fit to manage staff facilities”, “EFCC come and investigate Igbini. He must not go unpunished”, “We now know why Igbini was sacked from ELF as junior staff over 13 years ago”, “Igbini! Reactionary Comrade, who appointed you made a great mistake”, “Gov. Uduaghan, pls replace Igbini now to save DLA”.
Further recall that the leadership of Labour in Delta state met on Monday, August 12, 2013 and resolved as follows:
I. That the Memorandum of Understanding reached in the office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Labour and Industrial Relations on 15th April, 2013 still stands.
II. That the purported dissolution of the DLA unit of AUPCTRE by the management of DLA is null and void.
III. That all acts of victimization such as demotion, transfer, queries, etc arising from the crisis that was resolved on 15th April, 2013 are null and void.
IV. Accordingly and having regard to the intervention by the state Government represented by Comrade Mike Okeme, Special Adviser to the Governor on Labour and Industrial Relations, the current strike action by workers in DLA is hereby suspended.
V. That the state Government is hereby requested as a matter of urgency to take a definite action to resolve the industrial relations crisis in DLA once and for all to avoid a total breakdown of industrial peace and harmony in DLA and in Delta State in general.
Okeme, as a former labour boss further made unyielding efforts to persuade Igbini to implement the agreement to no avail via a letter titled “Re: Implementation of Agreement Reached on 15th April, 2013 in the Office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Labour and Industrial Relations” and dated 9th July 2013 with Ref No. SA/SCOM/LR.23/Vol.2/220.
Part of the letter reads:
“I am directed to remind you of the need to implement the agreement reached on 15th April, 2013 in the Office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Labour and Industrial Relations and your promise to adopt it as a working document in your Agency and to also inform you that my office have received several correspondences stating that inspite of the signed agreement, the status quo have remained same and the polity is again being heated.
“I am further directed to inform you that in the interest of industrial peace and harmony, it is paramount that you implement the agreement to have a good working relationship with your staff in order to achieve the goals and objectives of the Agency.”
He is also said to have gone ahead to make inciting statements and publications against the union, despite his failure to implement desirable measures and moves by stakeholders to entrench peaceful working relations in the Agency.
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