EXPOSED: Abia Newmap $56m fraud continues unabated— Group alleges

A group named Abia Professional said it has uncovered the fraudulent plans and collusion between the state government and officials of Newmap in Abia State led by Mr Izuchukwu Onwughara to redirect Hartland Nigeria Ltd back to Port Harcourt road to construct one lane which will serve as rembursable for the amount already paid to Heartland for the aborted Ngwa road / Obohia Urratta flood water management contract which was fraudulently mismanaged.

The group, in a statement on Wednesday, alleged that the state government have spent enough funds on media trying to deceive Abians that this project is still alive but undergoing review despite official cancellation of the $57m by world bank without raising any official query to the Abia Newmap till date.

The statement reads: “Few days ago the Abia State Commissioner for information treated us to another round of deceitful misinformation when he said during his press interview that before the end of the year (December 2021)the State government will move back to Port Harcourt road and that the road will be completed before May 2023 which is 18 months from today being 1st of September 2023.”

“At first we waved off that information as one of those numerous, deceitful narrative that has characterized this administration. A government that cannot pay salaries of N2b after receiving an average of N5.3b as shown in their annual report as published cannot afford N9b as the contract sum for the Port Harcourt road/ Asa road job.”

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“However, we have uncovered the fraudulent plans and collusion between the state government and officials of Newmap in Abia State led by Mr Izuchukwu Onwughara to redirect Hartland Nigeria Ltd back to Port Harcourt road to construct one lane which will serve as rembursable for the amount already paid to Heartland for the aborted Ngwa road / Obohia Urratta flood water management contract which was fraudulently mismanaged.”

“About a month a go, we reported that the world bank have officially cancelled the $57m without raising any official query to the Abia Newmap till date. The state government have spent enough funds on media trying to deceive the gullible Abians that this project is still live but undergoing review.”

“It would be recalled that a total sum of $27m representing 13b was paid to Hartland and their UAE counterpart for mobilization to site which includes of the tunnel boring machine for the underground tunneling of flood water which did not come till date. This was basically why NEWMAP stopped the project as it was discovered that Hartland embarked on surface drainage construction instead of the underground tunnelling in collaboration/collusion with corrupt govt officials of Abia State.”

“It is instructive we note that Hartland is owned by Mr Abu Umoru who is from Edo State and incidentally the Chairman of Setraco construction Ltd ( family business).This Hartland/ Setraco handled the gully erosion remediation work at Isi Ngwu in Umuahia which today has started showing signs of failure. They are same company that handled the failed Faulks road at Aba that has failed after 7b was paid.”

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“Edo State government recently announced plans of probing $200m Benin city storm water project done years back which has failed by same company.”

“Today, they have mismanaged the Ndiegoro flood water management of $56m and Abia state in collusion with NEWMAP have decided to compensate them with Port Harcourt / Asa road project through the back door.”

“We are asking ,what is special with this construction company that Abia State government cannot look beyond them.”

“What kind of mutual arrangement exist between some officials of Abia state government and this company.We cannot be seen as reinforcing failure with Hartland/ Setraco in Abia.”

“The plan is for the State government to secretly transfer all the payments made for the aborted Ndiegoro job back to Port Harcourt/ Asa road and still claim to have funded the job instead of NEWMAP.”

“The NEWMAP funds is Abia state funds and its given as loan to the State no wonder our total outstanding loans both local and foreign has grown from N30.4b in 2014 to N160B as June 2020.”

“The implication is that we must make government accountable for all these loans as we have noticed collusion among the parties in defrauding Abians by going ahead to tamper with what is left of this fund.”

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“We noticed that even in face of this failure by the goverment and its agencies, Hartland was paid recently what is left in the NEWMAP account without recourse to world bank/ Newmap office in Abuja.”

“We call on all the civil society organisations, NGOs and all men of good will to rise and challenge this constant rape of our resources by these fellows who does not have the interests of Abians at heart.”

“We call on federal Ministry of finance /EFCC/ ICPC /world bank and the NEWMAP Abuja office to investigate this charade going on in Abia State NEWMAP as we cannot afford to watch the mismanagement of state resources by these governments officials which Abia will end up paying back.”

“The Ndiegoro project failed because of greed and corruption which has defined this administration and the current efforts to woodwind Abians again has failed as we are wiser than before.”

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