Contract Scam: Doyin Okupe Owns Up, Begins Settlement Talks With Benue Govt
After series of denials that he was being investigated by the EFCC for allegedly defrauding Benue and Imo state governments, senior special assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on public affairs, Doyin Okupe has finally opened up and in fact opted for a settlement with the Benue state government.
iReports-ng.com had exclusively reported the story that Mr Okupe is enmeshed in a multi-million naira contract scam. While the presidential spokesman was making frantic efforts to deny the report, fresh facts emerged that he was not only being investigated by the EFCC over the Benue contract scam but that he had actually being detained for four weeks in the agency’s cell over a similar case in Imo state.
Okupe who has obviously come under pressures especially from the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN which last week called for his sack, decided to open up to some of his friends who he approached to help launch damage control campaigns in the media.
According to one of his friends who spoke to iReports-ng.com on the condition of anonymity, Okupe has not only repented of denying his face-off with the law over contract scams, he has gone ahead to brief a Lagos based lawyer, Yemi Gbonegun to represent him in a settlement arrangement he is negotiating with the Benue state government over the contract scam.
A lawyer in Gbonegun’s chambers confirmed the development to iReports-ng.com. The lawyer said the presidential aide was indeed awarded a rural road contract in Benue during the administration of Mr George Akume through Okupe’s company, Messrs Value Trust Investment Ltd.
Okupe’s decision to enter into negotiations with the Benue state government through an arbitration, a close source in the presidency revealed, was to block the EFCC which had initially denied the existence of such a case, from pressing criminal charges against him. The ACN had warned EFCC against cover up while the agency’s chairman Ibrahim Lamorde had during the week obtained an updated status reports on the two cases against Okupe to brief Mr Jonathan should he be called upon to brief the president on the raging controversy.
iReports-ng.com also gathered that in the coming days, many public relations consultants already hired and paid millions of naira by Mr Okupe will hit newspaper houses with reports that will paint Okupe as an asset to President Jonathan rather than a liabilty. His image minders will also attempt to portray the contract scam as a civil case.
To sustain that, they will sell to the public through the media that disputes arose over the contract because there was a change of baton between Akume who awarded the contract to Okupe and incumbent Governor Gabriel Suswam who seeks to recover the millions of Benue funds Okupe bolted with.