By Chika Otuchikere
The Ministries of Interior Affairs, Science and Technology and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) have been linked to a firm which has benefitted from an allegedly fraudulent consultancy Service valued at over N1 billion.
The Federal government establishments are said to be in shareholding partnership with the private firm, National eGovernment Strategies Limited (NeGSt) which received the consultancy service contracts from the Ministry of Interior from 2016 to 2019.
According to findings by an online media platform which investigated the spurious contracts, the NeGSt, enjoys the support of some influential officials in the Ministry of Interior, who facilitated the ‘consultancy services’ to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) via a contract between the NeGSt and the Interior Ministry.
The NeGSt in four years was paid over N1 billion for providing services that are spurious. A breakdown of the contract is as follows: In 2016, the company was paid N298 million, 2017 N281 million, 2018 N302 million and 2019 N277 million.
Investigations by the media revealed that there may have been a connivance between the Corporate Affairs Commission and the owners of NeGSt to register the company with a word reserved for only government establishments.
The company’s name creates the impression that it is owned by the federal government, but the certified true copies of its Form CAC 2A, Form CAC 7A and the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the company filed at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) unambiguously showed that the National eGovernment Strategies Limited was registered as a private business outfit with registration number RC 506023.
Instructively, Form CAC 2A of the National eGovernment Strategies Limited listed the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST) as having 1,000,000 (one million) shares each in the company while Form CAC 7 indicates that the Information Technology Development Agency and the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology are represented on the board of the company by one Mr Peter Jack and Mr Emmanuel Edet, respectively.
It is noteworthy that the law does not allow Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government to obtain shares in private companies directly. This explains why both government establishments denied owning shares in the National eGovernment Strategies Limited as it is being claimed by the company when they were confronted..
Although the federal governments establishments denied any partnership with the NeGSt, enquires from the Corporate Affairs Commission revealed that some government officials may have fraudulently influenced it registration.
The CAC explained that it consented to the use of the word “national” by the company based on a request by the National Information Technology Development Agency via a letter dated January 22, 2004.