The acting Executive Secretary of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, ARCN, Professor Garba Hamidu Sharubutu, has serially violated procurement laws and abused his office by awarding multimillion naira contracts to his companies, investigations have revealed.
The controversial contracts were awarded by Mr Sharubutu at the ARCN and the Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology, FCAH & PT, Vom in Plateau state where he served as provost for five years.
Analysis of official documents obtained by this newspaper revealed that Mr Sharubutu awarded contracts worth over N150 million to C.A.H Consultancy Ltd – a company he personally registered and owned, and another N115 million contracts to another company he owns through proxies, DVC-Multi Ventures Ltd.
The above contracts didn’t include other series of multimillion naira supplies executed by DVC-Multi Ventures Ltd, the same company appointed as an agent of C.A.H Consultancy Ltd. Mr Sharubutu, while at Vom as provost, awarded DVC -Multi Ventures Ltd the contracts for the purchase of a landed property, five Ford SUVs, five 406 Peugeot sedans, a tipper truck, an ambulance, among others.
The animal health college in Vom was established to undertake educational and research development in agriculture and agric-related production technology in Nigeria; while ARCN is the regulatory council for all research institutes in Nigeria towards achieving food security.
How the alleged fraud was perfected
Mr Sharubutu was the Provost of the FCAH & PT Vom from December 2013 to September 2019 before his current appointment as ARCN acting ES.
Checks by this newspaper at the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, revealed that Mr Sharubutu registered C.A.H Consultancy Ltd on December 29, 2015, exactly two years after his resumption as provost of the animal health college in Vom.
The CAC official search report, dated February 26, 2020, disclosed that the company with a registration number 1307179, has a share capital of N1 million. The company has three shareholders and three directors and a secretary.
Mr Sharubutu, according to the CAC official document, is listed as the biggest shareholder and director with a share capital of N400,000. Other shareholders are Sunday Olawuyi, and Muhammed Ladan Isa, with N300,000 share capital respectively. The duo Is the remaining directors of the company.
On the other hand, on June 4, 2019, Mr Sharubutu’s company, C.A.H. Consultancy appointed DVC-Multi Ventures as an “agent” to procure a property in Vom for the college. Subsequently, C.A.H Consultancy continued to award sub-contracts to the company on behalf of the college totaling millions of naira, according to official documents reviewed by this newspaper.
The fraudulent contracts at Vom
In December 2017, Mr Sharubutu awarded to his company, C.A.H. Consultancy Ltd, a contract for Capacity development for community based meat and butcher inspectors at Yamalti-Deba, Gombe state at the cost of N25 million.
In October 2018, he awarded another contract to his company for the provision of grants for fish farming in Langa-Langa in Nasarawa State at the cost of N2.5 million.
And just before he left the college in January 2019, the provost awarded another contract to the same company for the rehabilitation of the college library and laboratory at the cost of N24 million.
Also, the provost also awarded contracts to DVC- Multi Ventures, the other company he owns through proxy. In November 2018, Mr Sharubutu awarded DVC-Multi Ventures a N49.9 million contract for the provision of film grants for film production to youths in Okrika and Ogu-Bolo LGAs in Rivers state. On the same date, the Provost awarded the company another contract for “provision of film grant for film production” to youths in Khama/Gokana federal constituency in Rivers state at the cost of N49.9 million.
Similarly, in January 2019, Mr Sharubutu awarded DVC-Multi Ventures contract for the procurement and supply of fertilizer and other empowerment materials for farmers in Lere federal constituency in Kaduna state at the cost of N15 million.
On June 4, 2019, the Provost awarded the company a contract for the purchase of an 18-seater bus, a veterinary ambulance and a tipper truck without stating the contract amount.
The following day – June 5, 2019 – the provost again awarded another contract to the same company for the purchase of five units of Ford Galaxy vehicles and five units of 406 Peugeot sedans for the college.
Like the previous purchases, no contract amount was mentioned.
On December 18, 2018, Mr Sharubutu using his company C.A.H Consultancy appointed DVC-Multi Ventures Ltd as the “sole agent” for the purchase of a property for the college.
The sleaze continues at ARCN
The abuse of office, conflict of interest and violation of procurement laws didn’t stop at Vom, rather it continues at the ARCN Abuja where Mr Sharubutu was appointed as acting executive secretary.
For instance, on December 3, 2019, just some few months after his resumption at ARCN, Mr Sharubutu awarded two contracts worth N49.5 million each to his company C.A.H Consultancy Ltd. The contracts were for training of women and youth in agriculture at Ahoada Rivers state, and another one for grants for women and youth in livestock farming at Ahoada Rivers state at N49.5 million each.
To perfect this apparent abuse of office, one of the accomplices of Mr Sharubutu who is also a shareholder and director in the company, Ladan Isa, deposed to an affidavit on October 30, 2019 at the High Court of Plateau State, to the effect that he is the managing director of the company and that there was no staff of the ARCN who is a shareholder of C.A.H Consultancy Ltd.
Apparently Mr Isa lied on oath knowing full well that Mr Sharubutu, as evidenced by the CAC official search report of the company, exposed is a director and biggest shareholder of the company.
Is CCB doing enough?
In a letter written by the Code of Conduct Bureau’s director of Intelligence, Investigation and Monitoring, Gwimi S. P to the acting Ex. Sec, dated February 28, 2020, the bureau, seeks explanations of some weighty allegations bordering on appointments of some staff, detailed information of the personnel who benefited from the fraudulent trainings; detailed information of six (6) vehicles allocated to the minister and his aides, detailed information of names of companies and contracts awards, etc.
It is however unclear whether the bureau has acted on the petition.
Asked why he is a shareholder with 600,000 shares according to Corporate Affairs Commission documents sighted by DAILY NIGERIAN, he said: “The college cannot register a company without the provost serving as a shareholder”.
He went further to dismiss the allegations against him, describing them as an attempt by his detractors to frustrate his bid of becoming the substantive executive secretary of ARCN.
“All what you see happening is from those running against me for my seat. Most of these allegations are baseless. The issues surrounding the allegations involve several people, trainings and all that. Look, if not for the lockdown imposed that has restricted movement, I have all necessary documents with me to prove them wrong.”
On the petition submitted to the ICPC against him, he said his detractors should allow the anti-graft agency to do its job.
“I am aware that they have sent a petition. And what I do not understand is why they are still running around. Are they not confident in the petition they submitted? They should allow the investigations to be carried out. Like I stated earlier, this is nothing but blackmail. They are only after my position,” he added.