Following months of investigation, it has been discovered that the Abia State Government is being scammed of a whopping N12.5 billion annually in a very strange manner.
This is being perpetrated in active connivance with the State House of Assembly.
The investigation, which was conducted by a team of journalists following a tipoff of the activities of the Abia State House of Assembly, particularly the activities of the 7th Abia State House of Assembly led by Rt. Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, showed conflict of interest, deliberate manipulation of extant laws to deny the state its fair share of revenue and above all bribery.
What’s being called Fraud in Ivory Towers because it involved Abia State higher institutions started with the engagement of Lloydant Business Services (LBS) to manage revenue collections in Abia State Polytechnic and Abia State School of Health Sciences and Management Technology respectively.
Independent investigations showed LBS was engaged to these tertiary Institutions in Abia State digital verification of school payments which eliminates the possibility of forgery, sharp practices and effectively blocks revenue leakages in the schools;
– Online processing of results which effectively checks deliberate delays in release of results while eliminating errors in the process;
– Providing a platform to enable students check results, register courses, pay fees etc online and directly from their mobile devices and also enabling alumni to request for their transcripts online from any part of the world;
– Enabling lecturers to be evaluated digitally and anonymously by students thereby giving the schools critical and objective information on their activities; and
– Ensuring staff of the school administer most of the ICT functions themselves – signalling a deliberate, strong and real transition to the ICT age for these institutions.
To deepen it terms of reference, LBS created a platform to:
– Enable the schools track their financial status at all times thereby giving the school authorities access to data of fees collected and fees being owed to the schools down to the departmental fees.
– Integrate and enable the Abia State Board of Internal Revenue have online real-time access to view the financial status of the schools which has made revenue monitoring and audit much easier for the State.
– Enable the management of the schools manage admissions independently with a view to eliminate the chances of fraud and racketeering by third parties; and
– Enable the schools effortlessly update their website themselves (In the case of ABSU, I understand the website is updated within 60 minutes of information release).
In addition, LBS provides services such as digital clearance systems, online hostel management and fiber optic internet services which are all highly essential to these institutions in today’s modern educational structure.
Investigations showed that the Company entered into specific and separate agreements and terms of operations/services with each of these institutions.
Interestingly, the Managements of these institutions during investigations restated their satisfactions with the services rendered by the LBS and accepted that the Company has added great value to each of them since their services were engaged.
In its bid to deepen the financial inflow to the state government, operational charges being taken from Abia State Government was low and far competitive and was said to be lower than such similar services elsewhere.
Yet, just for mere allegation of fraud which was never established, the Abia State House of Assembly under the leadership of Rt. Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji ended the services of LBS.
The House disregarded likely negative effects such an action will have on the operations of these institutions and even the financial liability such may expose the schools to (and by extension, the State government) for breach of their Agreements with the Company.
It was this action of the state assembly that led to the investigation which exposed a case of fraud, high wired political intrigues and scheming rooted in the belief by several political interest groups that LBS was owned by a former Commissioner of Finance in the State, who was alleged to be using the Company and the services it was carrying out in Abia State to build his financial war chest for prosecuting his 2023 Gubernatorial Ambition.
It was further discovered that this position was being canvassed and peddled all over the state by a disgruntled former aide of the State Governor who fell out with the former Finance Commissioner.
This former aide of the Governor is being sponsored and prodded by a business competitor of the Company and he was actually recorded boasting that he had agreed with the Speaker to chase Lloydant (LBS) out of Abia State and hand over all its businesses to the business competitor in question, investigations showed.
Curiously, the Reports of the Ad-Hoc Committees of the House on Abia State Polytechnic and Abia State School of Health which indicted Lloydant (LBS) showed that the reports did not state any case of fraud or poor management leading to revenue leakages but went ahead to adopt the report terminating LBS agreements with these institutions.
In fact, the report did not indicate that key parties in the investigations were interviewed. LBS was not involved in the House Investigations. It was discovered that the House after setting up the committee produced the report the following week and the report was adopted the same day it was presented thus terminating LBS services.
Further investigation showed that prior to the entry of Lloydant into ABSU, portal services in the school were being handled by a Company called GPS (Global Portal Services), which later changed fraudulently to Tenece Professional Services.
The management of the school stated that they were dissatisfied with the services being rendered by the Company (Tenece Professional Services) at the time as they basically provided payment management services where they engaged the services of a switch to collect revenues on behalf of the schools while the school’s operations were still not ICT compliant as there was no digital verification.
Manual receipts were still being used, no online course registrations, results or transcript management, hostel processing etc at prior to the engagement of LBS.
The School was still experiencing serious revenue leakages at that time and a top management staff informed said during investigations, that it was as a result of the school’s dissatisfaction that it started shopping for a new ICT Services Provider and it eventually settled for Lloydant (LBS) who has been providing excellent services ever since it was engaged making ABSU’s ICT compliance, a model that a lot of other schools are trying to emulate.
Coincidentally, this Tenece Professional Services is the same Company that investigation revealed the former aide of the Governor had boasted to have agreed with the Speaker that it would take over all the businesses of Lloydant in Abia State.
Upon investigations, GPS never changed its name to Tenece Professional Services. Rather, GPS is an existing company with RC No. 618689 and was registered on the 9th of March 2005 while Tenece Professional Services was registered on the 10th of May 2006 with RC No. 652948. A simple search at the Corporate Affairs Commission revealed that both companies are two different companies with different shareholders and directors and have no business relationship whatsoever.
On further investigation at ABSU on how Tenece Professional Services came to replace GPS as the portal services provider of the school at the time, it was discovered that Tenece’s entry into the school was procured fraudulently, as the Managing Director of Tenece who was a former staff of GPS wrote a letter to ABSU where he fraudulently notified the Management of the school that the business name of GPS had been changed to Tenece Professional Services Limited and requested that all further correspondences between the school and GPS be done under the new name Tenece Professional Services Limited (TPS Ltd).
Investigations showed that this fraudulent change of name executed by Tenece was deceitfully perpetrated without the knowledge of the Management of the school who commenced dealing with Tenece believing it was dealing with GPS under its new name (Tenece) without knowing that Tenece had obtained a transfer of the business of GPS to itself via forgery without the knowledge or consent of GPS or ABSU.
Further investigation revealed that Tenece carried out a similar exercise in different schools where GPS had portal management services contract across the southeast.
All such contracts were fraudulently transferred to Tenece Professional services with the management of those institutions thinking that it was just a mere change of name without knowing that it was a total fraudulent transfer of services from one entity to another, records showed during investigations.
Yet it was due to GPS’s lack of adhering to its terms of reference in rendering services to the schools, allegations of fraud and increasing revenue leakages that made the schools to shop for new ICT company thus settling for LBS.
A source, who’s a top management staff in one of the institutions said, “Tenece is clearly fraudulent and manipulative in their dealings and cannot be trusted that was why we opted for another firm that is now giving the services required by the school satisfactorily.”
She further revealed that Tenece had approached them severally through different sources seeking to return but the management turned down their offers, adding that “they are the ones who are going about manipulating Abia House of Assembly into making sure that Lloydant was discredited.”
According to the source, they are aware of the monetary inducements and a recent meeting between the management of Tenece, led by the Company’s Managing Director, Kingsley Eze, who is alleged to be a close friend of the Speaker of the House, and a principal officer of the house in the UK, in addition to the promises made by Tenece to the House Committee in order to manipulate the House into ensuring that the existing contracts that Lloydant has in Abia State was terminated.
A member of the House who spoke on condition of anonymity expressed dissatisfaction with the whole exercise describing it as fraudulent and financially induced but clarified that he was a lone voice.
“The manner the investigation of the House was conducted and the speed with which the report was concocted and passed left much to be desired when it comes to legislative duties.
“This was an issue that concerned revenue of the state yet it was handled in a shoddy way because of financial inducement and conflict of interest.”
According to management sources and available documents sighted in the two Abia State-owned schools, revenue accruing from the two schools was about N27.5 billion annually.
The company handling the revenue collection is supposed to collect 10℅ from the total annual revenue.
But it was discovered that Tennessee which has been fraudulently billed to collect the revenues under report the revenue such that it only declares N15 billion as revenue while still taking its 10℅ from the N15 billion thus denying Abia State Government of N11 billion.
For now, it’s the manner in which the state house of assembly overlooked the overall interest of the state and rather became interested party to benefit from the exercise that’s the concern of the people in the state.
This paper was unable to speak with the Speaker as calls to his phone were not answered.
A representative of Tenece who spoke with this paper promised to respond but had the phone switched of until this publication was made.
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