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Constituency Projects: How Senator Bwacha Robbed Constituents, Cornered Huge Contracts

•ICPC Report Indicts Bwacha

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) has detailed how Senator Emmanuel Bwacha representing  Taraba South  abused his office and converted the public property to personal use in executing some multi-million-naira worth of constituency projects.

According to the anti-graft agency, the lawmaker "manipulatively awarded" contracts for the execution of some constituency projects nominated by them to companies in which they, their family members or associates had "substantial interest directly or indirectly".

"Incidents of abuse of office by some sponsors and officers of the executing agencies have been observed in many cases," the report which captures the preliminary findings of the second phase of ICPC's Constituency and Executive Projects Tracking Initiative (CEPTi), read in part.

The report also cited cases of conversion of public projects to personal use with vehicles and water machines recovered from the premises belonging to the senator or their relations.

The ICPC report cited  awarded of a contract for the construction and renovation of blocks of classrooms at the Federal University Staff School in Wukari, to his company.

According to the ICPC, Bwacha awarded the contract to Eloheem Educational Management and Schools Ltd, a firm "owned and operated directly" by him.

In a case of misappropriation, the report said Bwacha also "deceived the federal government to fund a personal project" of building a secondary school for the Federal University of Wukari as a constituency project.

In another instance, the Taraba senator allegedly cornered a contract for the supplies of water rigs to his constituency.

The contract was initially awarded to S.A. Kadiri Ltd. "Curiously," the ICPC report says, "just two days after the award, S.A. Kadiri wrote the executing agency, Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority informing it that its 'sister company, Eloheem Ltd," a company owned by Mr Bwacha, would now execute the project.

"In respect of the execution of the contract," S.A. Kadiri "requested that the contract sum should be paid into the bank account of Eloheem Ltd, a company owned and operated by the sponsor (Mr Bwacha)," the commission's findings state.

Alleging conversion of public projects to personal use, the ICPC's findings state that Mr Bwacha who sponsored the procurement of water rigs to his constituency in Taraba South Senatorial District converted the same items to his personal use.

"The rigs which were never distributed before the commission's intervention, were procured and supplied to the sponsor (Mr Bwacha), and were found in the custody of the sponsor; commercialised and the proceeds paid into the sponsor's bank account," the ICPC report says.

The report adds that CEPTG officers would later recover the two water rigs with supporting equipment and one water tanker "that had been converted to personal use by the sponsor" from the senator.

Mr Bwacha, a former Commissioner for Agriculture in Taraba State between 1999 and 2003, is a veteran lawmaker.

He was elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to represent the Donga/Ussa/Takum federal constituency of Taraba State in the House of Representatives in 2003. He failed to secure reelection in 2007.

But he staged a comeback in 2011 to become the senator representing Taraba South Senatorial District. Mr Bwaha was re-elected to the Senate in 2015, and subsequently in 2019.

As a senator elected on the platform of the PDP, Mr Bwacha emerged as the Deputy Senate Minority Leader at the inception of the current 9th National Assembly but relinquished the position after defecting to the majority APC in February.

Additional report from Premium Times

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