Dr Doyin Okupe, former Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, has admitted he was being paid N10m monthly by the detained former National Security Adviser, retired Col. Sambo Dasuki.
In a statement last weekend, Okupe, who is being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) commented on issues the anti-graft body has asked him to explain.
he said that he was acting in response to certain publications in some national dailies in connection with the EFCC summons, he said he received the monthly N10m to run his office, which had 23 staff, including 11 university graduates and above.
He confirmed he received N50m from the office of the NSA at the onset of his appointment, and another N50m from the NSA in October 2014.
“That second N50m, he explained, was approved when he reported to Mr Jonathan that the monthly allowance has been cut from N10 million to N5 million and that he was no longer in a position to keep running a one hour NTA network program called ‘Insight’ which was aired 9-10 a.m every Friday and some other days of the week.”
Okupe said that he has been in public service in more than 20years, during which, on account of what he described as his pedigree, he has deliberately avoided anything that would bring shame to him and his family.
“In spite of my high-level involvement in politics and government, I have never done directly or indirectly any federal government contracts,” he said. “In the whole of this world, I have only two houses. One in Lagos and another in my hometown. I have no house elsewhere including Abuja.”
The former presidential adviser was appointed in mid-2012 by Mr. Jonathan at a time it was felt that presidential spokesman Reuben Abati was not sufficiently combative with critics of the then First Lady, Patience Jonathan.
It is, however, unclear at what point, between 2012 and 2015, that new office grew to as many as 23 persons, including five Masters degrees holders, or exactly what it did to warrant such huge expenditures.
While Okupe was categorical in Sunday’s statement that he has never taken federal government contracts, that clarification may have been deliberate, as it is on record that he obtained massive contracts from the governments of Imo and Benue during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, that he did not honor.
In 2005 in Imo State, for instance, he obtained from the government of Governor Achike Udenwa, a contract involving the construction of four kilometers of road in each of the 27 local government areas, at N14 million per km.
He was twice paid a mobilisation fee of N400 million twice, totaling N800m, and then another N350 million at a time that only about 8km of the 108km involved in the contract. In effect, he received N1.2 billion for the contract, with very little implemented.
Similarly, in Benue State, using another company, Okupe secured another road construction contract valued at N2.303 billion, with up to N886.8 million paid to the company by 2006.
In that year, he was detained by the EFCC for up to one month.
In his statement on Sunday, Okupe expressed regret that the situation in Nigeria is so bad that everybody believes that there are no men with honor in politics or government, saying it was untrue, and that he has submitted his personal and company accounts to the EFCC and has nothing to hide.
“I am proud of who I am and how far the Lord has taken me. My present travails and trial will become a good testimony for my family and me in Jesus Name.
“We paid NTA about N1.2 million monthly for airtime. Two presenters were paid N600,000 monthly. We paid for tapes and Editing per program.
“Besides we also pay honorarium for guests either directly or inform of hotel bills for those outside Abuja, or transportation. This cost averagely N500,000 weekly or about N2 million monthly. All in all, we spent about N4m monthly on the program.
“Mr President promised to help with the expenses. About a few months later when we had incurred some debts, the NSA sent me a sum of N50m which was to cover the cost of the program for 12 months (12×N4m=N48m)
The Newspaper Trial
“I saw strange figures like N 162 million fraud, N85 million fraud in the Media. Also, mention was made of some alleged dubious payments of N13 million and N65 million from contracts supposedly obtained from Chachanga Local Government Area in Niger state.
“The fact, however, is that my company Romix soilfix was one of the over 20 construction companies who were duly awarded contracts for rural roads some five years ago by the Niger state government.
“Due to lack of funds, contractors were paid irregularly thus making the job to drag on for long. The job is still ongoing. The relationship of this to my service as Senior Special assistant to President is still not clear.
My Health status
“I confided in the officers of the commission about my health situation for them to understand why where and how I sleep was important to my overall well-being.
“Without clearance or authorization by me this information was revealed to the media. I woke up to hear it on radio broadcast nationwide and was published in many newspapers. This is a sad development and a definite breach of the confidence I reposed on the commission as an institution of government.
“I was born with sinus bradycardia, a non-disease based slowness of the heart. It precluded me from vigorous exercise from childhood but I have by God’s Grace been able to live a normal and active life. With age the slowness grew worse and life threatening.
“I sought medical help and went through a procedure at the Arrhythmia cardiac Research center in Atlanta, where this defect was corrected. Its just a year ago and I am still under satellite monitor from the USA. This is what I revealed to the EFCC and they made it a public issue,”he said.
SOURCE: Sahara Reporters