According to reports, the Federal Government may blacklist some of the 115 companies implicated in the N116b “curious” contracts in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) during the tenure of ex-NSA Sambo Dasuki.
Also, some of the companies may be handed over to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for prosecution for not paying taxes to the Federal Government.
But one of the companies, Image Merchants, which had been covertly managing the media for security agencies since 2013, faulted the report of the AVM JON Ode’s panel. It asked President Muhammadu Buhari to be wary of those whose stock in trade is to blackmail and destroy others apparently as a way and means of venting their anger over their past frustration.
Some of the indicted firms may be blacklisted unless they refund some funds meant for some unexecuted projects, a source said. The source, who pleaded not to be named because he is not allowed to speak on the matter, said: “Some of these companies may be blacklisted from getting contracts from Ministries, Departments and Agencies, unless they refund the contract sums illegally credited to them or collected and get clearance from the government.
“There are over 115 companies with issues on contracts in ONSA. Some of these firms risk being denied further transactions with the government and its agencies. “It is certainly no longer business as usual in the country. The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will not waiver in its fight against corruption.”
Besides being probed further, more than 300 persons and companies by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and other Offences Commission (ICPC) and the police, some of the firms may be handed over to the FIRS for alleged tax evasion and other tax infractions. “Do you know that some of the companies were indicted by the panel for not remitting taxes to the government? Now, they have to face the penalty, “ the source said.
But one of the companies, Image Merchants, yesterday faulted the panel’s report. In a statement by Yushau Shuaibu, the company said: “For genuine reasons and concern, our strategic team managed many humiliating and embarrassing reports from leakages, including alleged terrorists’ attacks in the hometowns of top security officers in the current administration.”
“We honoured the invitation to serve our nation out of patriotism and we dutifully provided our services as crisis communicators diligently and professionally. “While acknowledging the moral support and encouragement from critical stakeholders, we will continue to volunteer, support and render the services responsibly. We would never abandon our clients, partners and friends especially those who are unduly victimised and vilified.”
”Meanwhile we will soon be in the court to clear our name from the unfortunate media trial of indictment that has been used consistently to unjustly rubbish reputations of institutions and individuals without following the rule of law or due process.”
The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Mallam Garba Shehu on Thursday claimed that the ONSA committee had recovered over N7billion from those indicted. The indicted companies are to refund another N41 billion. But the investigating agencies, including the EFCC, will determine whether another N75 billion should be recovered from some of the companies.
Shehu said the ONSA Committee had found out that one of the indicted companies, Societe D’Equipment International was overpaid by 7.9 million Euros and $7.09 million.
It noted that many contractors were apparently overpaid. Others were paid upfront, contrary to their contract terms and agreements. The panel also uncovered evidence of payments to individuals and companies by ONSA without any contractual agreement or evidence of jobs executed. The committee discovered that some companies failed to fulfill their tax obligations for contracts executed.