Sequel to reports of alleged irregularities and fraud in the Abuja Technology Village, a coalition, Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), whose primary aim is to constructively combat corruption vigorously, has sent a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Managing Director of the agency, Ms Hauwa Yabani, for details of activities in the organisation.
The request, which was signed by the chairman of the coalition, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, seeks clarification on the administration of the agency especially as it concerns the financial records.
The Abuja Technology Village (ATV) Project was registered under the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), with its stakeholders as the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Abuja Investment Company and the ATV Foundation as the major shareholder. The project ought to be supervised by the Office of the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory.
Among the request demanded by the anti-graft group include: “Certain irregularities characterized the employment of one Mr. Derrick Osafo, a British- Ghanaian as a lead of a unit in ATV (Abuja Technology Village), which did not follow the due process of employment as it is alleged that he neither possesses a Nigerian work permit nor Free Zone permit as applicable to the Free Zone wherein the Abuja Technology Village operates..
“The ATV Project has in the last three years gulped a whooping sum of $9m of tax payers’ money without corresponding results to justify such expenditure. The project has spent One Hundred and Eighty Two Million Naira (N182M) on consultancy in the last one year without returns on investment.
“Furthermore, the budgetary allocation to the ATV from the Federal Capital Territory Authority (FCTA) is shrouded in secrecy as no one knows the exact amount of the allocations. However, it is alleged that the sum of Two Hundred Million Naira was released to it in 2014 while the sum of One Hundred and Fifty Million Naira was approved for 2015.”
Other request stated in the letter are, “It is also alleged that you double as the Managing Director and only board member of ATV Foundation, a subsidiary company of the Abuja Technology Village Project. This is quite worrisome as the project currently has no Board of Directors administering its affairs. As the managing Director, you are also the sole signatory to the ATV account without any form of supervision on the management of the said account.
“Furthermore, it is reported that ATV has been collecting withholding taxto the tune of over Two Billion Naira from Gilmor Engineering which was contracted to develop the primary infrastructure for the project since inception.”
The group noted that it is requesting the information based on its mandate. “We look forward to receiving this information promptly, and in any event, within Seven (7) days of the receipt of this application as provided for in Section 4 of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011,” it said.