From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Delta State Commissioner for Youth Development, Mr. Asupa Forteta was yesterday grilled for several hours by police investigators from the Anti-Fraud Unit, Ikoyi, Lagos State, for allegedly forging tax clearance certificate to secure a contract with the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC).
He was quizzed at the headquarters of the Delta State Police command in Asaba by the investigators led by an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. Austin Odion.
The team had stormed Asaba to effect arrest of Fauteta but could as the suspect was said to fallen ill, and was undergoing treatment at an undisclosed hospital in Warri. However, Mr. Fauteta turned himself on Wednesday at about 10am and was granted bail at about 5.30pm.
A source at the command headquarter said Fauteta’s bail bond was signed by two sureties, adding that he was asked to deposit his international passport with the police and also report to their office in Lagos on April 18, 2016 for further interrogation.
According to the source, the team also wrote to the Managing Director of DESOPADEC, William Makinde requesting for the release of the commission’s Director of Finance of, Mr. Sunday Ajamuofa, Mr. David Ejukonemu, Engr. Moses Akwunike and Engr. Peter Ominije by on April 11 explain their role over the alleged fraud surrounding the contract and why the job was abandoned.
Fauteta’s current travails followed a petition written by one Emmanuel Ogobene alleging that the suspect allegedly falsified tax clearance certificate using non-existent business name, Deate Ventures to secure a contract worth of N140 million from DESOPADEC, for the construction of road and drainage at Orogun community, Ughelli North Local Government Area of the state.
Ogobene further alleged that Forteta fraudulently breached the Memorandum of Understanding they both entered into, dated August 28th, 2012 and signed by both Chief Ogobene, Hotel De Harmony Nig., Ltd and Mr. Asupa Forteta, Deate Ventures which stated that the contract shall be executed under the name of Deate Ventures, and to share the profit on a 50-50 percentage ratio.
A police source informed that Fauteta told his interrogators that as at the time he won the contract, he had no money to execute it, hence he look for a financier who provided his company, Deate Ventures and wouldn’t have known that the tax clearance was forged or that the company was not dully registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
Contacted, Mr. Forteta confirmed the statement saying that, “as at the time I got that job I didn’t have money to execute it, so I approached the owner of Deate Ventures who promised to finance the job but insisted that the contract must be awarded in his company’s name. So, at that material time I would not have known if the company was not registered or that the tax clearance certificate was allegedly forged.”
When asked why he entered an MOU with Hotel De Harmony Nig., Ltd in the name of Deate Ventures, he stated that, “when the owner of Deate Ventures failed to raise the money to execute the contract, and the job was fraudulently rewarded to Hotel De Harmony Nig., Ltd in 2011 and following intervention by some of the management of the agency, he agreed that they should jointly raise money to finance the project and share the profit 50-50.”
He however denied that he went into hiding when the police came, stressing that he told them that he was sick and would personally report.
Fauteta said nobody took him on bail, saying that he “was granted bail on self recognition, because the petitioner failed to prove his allegation against me.”