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Abuja businesswoman petitions IGP, alleges threat to life over deal with Ebonyi government  

By Bertram Nwannekanma
21 September 2022   |   3:17 am
An Abuja-based businesswoman, financial consultant and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Andrew Bishopton Limited, Abuja, Dr. Jackie Ikeotuonye, has accused Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State
Usman Alkali Baba

Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba. Photo/FACEBOOKTHENIGERIAPOLICE

Count Governor Umahi out of Ikeotuonye’s travails says aide

An Abuja-based businesswoman, financial consultant and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Andrew Bishopton Limited, Abuja, Dr. Jackie Ikeotuonye, has accused Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, of threatening her life over consultancy job to help the Ebonyi State government recover excess deductions/charges on foreign/local loan facilities.

 
The woman in the petition is calling on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Baba for protection even as she debunked all the “false allegations’’ against her by the state government.
   
Ikeotuonye said the petition to the IGP has become necessary because she has temporarily abandoned her  Abuja residence as she believed some unknown faces are stalking her, signifying that her life is in danger.
   
The woman, who is the daughter of the late prominent lawyer, Chief ABC Ikeotuonye, one of the first three Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), further alleged that her life was not safe since her company and partner took the Ebonyi Government to court for the failure of the government to pay her the agreed fees by the terms of the contract signed before the commencement of the assignment.

According to her,  the Ebonyi State Government engaged her company, Andrew Bishopton Limited, and partner, Mauritz Walton Nigeria Limited to recover money wrongly deducted by the Federal Government on foreign loans from the state government between 1995 and 2002.

 
This appointment, according to her was followed by a consultancy services agreement signed between the state and Andrew Bishopton on November 17, 2015, where it was stated that the state would pay the company 25% of the sum reconciled, recovered, and paid into the account of the state by the Federal Government.
 
The State government, she added, went further to introduce Andrew Bishopton to the relevant government agencies-Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Debt Management Office (DMO) and the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMoF) as contained in the agreement to enable them to have access to the relevant departments and information during the assignment.
   
“The assignment commenced in earnest, without any form of financial mobilisation or upfront payment from the state. The governor during the first meeting made it clear through his commissioner for finance that he was not going to mobilise us for the job.
 
“The company had to seek other avenues to finance the assignment. And this led to the joint partnership with Dr. Mauruis Ibe of Mauritz Walton Nigeria Limited, who bore the bulk of the expenses incurred during the assignment.
 
“As the assignment progressed, reports were submitted to the state. After the assignment, the company sent another letter dated February 9, 2016 to the Debt Management Office to update them on the progress of work done and the outcome of the work done on behalf of Ebonyi State.
 
“The DMO in a letter dated August 01, 2016, requested the state to attach all relevant documents to back up their demand for a refund. All these documents were duly provided to the state by my company.
 
“Meanwhile, on completion of the assignment, the Governor sent in two demand letters to the Minister of Finance for the repatriation of the reconciled amount of $119, 419,427.59 being over deductions on the account of Ebonyi State Government Foreign loans service. Another letter was also sent to the Director General, Debt Management Office.”
 
Dr Ikeotuonye, in the petition to the IGP, said the total sum of $119,419,427.59 was recovered by her company and partners for the state government, noting that the Ebonyi State government defaulted in the payment of the consultancy fees agreed between the state government and the consultants, which prompted the companies to drag the state government to court.
   
The Andrew Bishopton Limited’s boss said immediately after the first tranche of the money was paid to the Ebonyi State government, the state government sent in “their so-called letter of disengagement by saying we never did any work since the appointment was given. They also quoted a letter from DMO telling them they do not work with individual consultants.
 
“The Governor specifically mentioned in his demand letters that what he was asking for was premised on the report submitted by Andrew Bishopton Limited. Yet, they claimed we did nothing. It might interest you to know that Ebonyi State sadly has an antecedent for disengaging consultants at the point of payment for services.
 
The first tranche of payment made to the State was N8, 385, 035,086.72 based on the Governors’ Forum’s payment schedule.
 
“We then sent in a demand for our fees of N2, 096, 258, and 771. 68 in a letter dated December 11th, 2016 because we noticed that the state reneged on the agreement to provide an irrevocable standing order conveying 25% of all money recovered by the consultant and have the fund domiciled in the then Skye Bank.

“When some highly placed people intervened the Ebonyi State government agreed to pay us N50,000,000.00, but transferred N42, 000, 000:00, then compelled me to sign that I would make no further demands, hence we had no option but to approach the Federal High court, which gave judgment in our favour and further froze the state government’s bank accounts.
   
“Miffed by this, on August 31, 2022, armed men numbering about 10 in number from both Ebonyi Police Command and Garki Police Station stormed my house at Brains and Hammers Estate in Apo Abuja, with a warrant of arrest, purportedly from a Magistrate’s court in Ebonyi, that I was under arrest for defrauding the Ebonyi State Government to the tune of N50m.”
 
The same N50m (though N42m was transferred) that the Governor compelled her to receive as “Final payment” is what has been referred to as a trumped-up charge of “defrauding of Ebonyi State Government, ” Dr Ikeotuonye narrated.

She however said that this was done to give a legitimate covering to her arrest and transfer to Ebonyi.

 
“The articles published by the state labelling me a “fraud” has become an issue of libel against the Ebonyi State Government, and has just been filed in a Federal High Court. I was embarrassed, humiliated and treated like a common criminal in the process of taking me to Ebonyi State.”
 
“On arrival, I was shoved straight into the Governor’s Office where I  was under duress and compelled to sign some documents to vacate the Federal High Court judgment in Port Harcourt. For fear of my life, I  signed the document and was released after four days.
 
“Since then, Governor Umahi, instead of making an effort to pay us the fees owed us despite intervention by governors and other prominent Nigerians, has been after me insisting that I must go to Port Harcourt, and file an application to set aside the judgment.
 
“I have been strongly advised against this by legal experts. The Governor, rather than appealing the judgment or paying us, is hounding me.”
 
Contacted yesterday, the Special Assistant to Ebonyi State Governor on Media and Strategy, Chooks Oko, denied the allegation of threat to the woman’s life.

He said: “The attention of the Governor of Ebonyi state, Engineer David Umahi has been drawn to a post circulating around Facebook by one Jackie Ikeotuonye that Governor Umahi ordered her arrest over garnishee orders against the Government of Ebonyi State.
 
“Nothing could be more satanic, misleading and outright fallacious than such an insinuation.
 
“The truth of the matter is as follows. Sometime in 2015, Ikeotuonye approached Ebonyi State Government through her company, Andrew Bishopton Ltd requesting to serve as agents to help the State Government recover her share of Paris Club refunds for a fee.

 
“The State Government gave them the contract but called for a review when the Governors, under the aegis of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, collectively made an alternative arrangement that later yielded fruits.

“ Having done nothing for the State Government, the contract with Andrew Bishopton Ltd was terminated but Ikeotuonye quickly ran to a former President who intervened and got the state to pay her N50 million as a final settlement. An agreement was signed to that effect.
 
“Surprisingly, Ikeotuonye surreptitiously sued the state and got garnishee orders for a non-existent N30 billion naira debt.

 
“Seeing this breach of contract, the state Government moved, got the order quashed and duly reported the matter to the police.
 
“It is thus the Police that is investigating Ikeotuonye for forgery among other issues. They are the ones holding her in line with their duty, in view of the criminal offence she has committed.
   
“For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Umahi has no hand in the matter as it is strictly her case with the Ebonyi State Government and the security agencies.

“Her cheap blackmail against the Governor is not only ill-advised but would ultimately aid her conviction for the offences she has committed.”

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