The Amnesty Office will halt the activities of vendors who defraud the programme under various guises, Special Adviser to the President on Amnesty, Prof. Charles Dokubo, said on Wednesday.
He accused contractors of running away with mobilisation fees paid to them, adding that he had stopped payment of 15 per cent mobilisation fees
Dokubo said some fraudulent contractors were using multiple companies to source for contracts because of the 15 per cent mobilisation fees, which they collect and run away with.
He denied being under probe, saying his visits to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was to assist the agency with information in their probe of the tenures of past Special Advisers on Amnesty Programme.
Dokubo spoke in Abuja against the backdrop of protests by a group which called itself “Amnesty Programme Vendors Association.”
He said some of the people, who parade themselves as vendors angling for contracts, lacked the resources and expertise to execute contracts.
The Amnesty boss said the modus operandi of the vendors was to scout for contracts, which they rush to Transcorp Hilton, Abuja to sell.
He said: “The other issue is that some of these people who parade themselves as vendors don’t even have the resources to execute contracts. So, they go and sell it at the Hilton. When you get to the foyer of the Hilton, you will find contracts flying all over the place because they can’t do them.
“They are not used to doing contracts. So, it is a different mix. If people are capable and willing to do the jobs, one would be encouraged. If you look at the company’s profile and see the track records that the contractor can do the job, it is a different thing. They believe that because they come from the region, you must give them contracts and any one that has that sense of entitlement is doing a lot of damage to the entire region.
“You should get contracts, not because you are from the Niger Delta, but because you have the capacity and capability to do the job. It is then and only then that you should be given a contract.”
On his problem with the Vendors Association, he said: “I don’t have any personal problem with them, except that I am not comfortable with their mode of operation. These are people who want to be awarded contracts as a group. How can that be? Contracts are awarded to individual companies with the capacity to perform and deliver the jobs.
“So, what sort of association are they? I have never heard of such before I joined the Amnesty Programme. When I came, they were already on the ground. But, for me, it was an illicit way of getting contracts and them not performing or delivering on those contracts because they claim that they come from the region. This sense of entitlement pervades whatever they do there.
“If you’ve done a contract, you must bring a Certificate of Completion because it is based on that that the Amnesty Office will pay you. But, like I mentioned, we have to cut off the 15 per cent because, for most people, 15 per cent was like a free gift and once you get it, you run. They won’t even come back to do the job.
“Yes, the 15 per cent was supposed to be mobilisation fee for the contract and later, when you have done the job up to a certain level, you come back for more. But, we looked at it and people just take the money and run away.
“Some of them even use multiple companies to have this 15 per cent mobilisation fee. So, we looked at our liabilities and when we saw that most of those who collected 15 per cent did not do any job, we wrote to them that, before you take anything from us, you must complete the work because we are not doing a direct labour service. This is a contract awarded to you and you must deliver for you to be paid.”
Asked if he is under any investigation of any type, Dokubo said: “As far as I know, I am not under any investigation. Most of the time, when I go to EFCC and DSS, it is about past queries on the activities of the programme; even when I was not part of the organisation.
“If I tell you that I am still receiving letters from EFCC, DSS on Timi Alaibe, Kingsley Kuku and Boroh, (heads of Amnesty programme); you may not believe it. But, these are the reasons why I have been going to these places and not for anything related to my term in office.“
He added: “The Amnesty programme is for Niger Delta, but not all Niger Deltans benefit from the programme.
“No part of the country has been affected and infested with intervention agencies than the Niger Delta.”
“It is for Niger Deltans to understand the programme”
Dokubo stressed the need to change the direction of the programme achieve its purpose in the interest of the people of Niger Delta.