N2.5bn Vehicle Contract: Court Freezes Accounts of Auto Firm

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Bayelsa State High Court sitting in Yenagoa has ordered the freezing of bank accounts operated by Dilly Motors Limited owned by a businessman, Okwudili Umenyiora, following an investigation by the police over N2.5bn vehicles supplied to the state government.

The state Commissioner of Police in an ex parte motion prayed the court to freeze the firm’s bank accounts maintained by the firm listed in the suit as the first respondent.

The suit, which also named the banks as the second and third respondents, urged the court to make an order withholding the account pending the conclusion of the police investigations.

Granting the request, the Presiding Judge, Justice E.G. Omukoro, made an order freezing the accounts for 14 days to be renewed after a fresh application by the police.

Omukoro also made an order compelling the banks to furnish the police with detailed statement of accounts of the first respondent.

The investigation began following a petition alleging fraud, criminal conversion and conduct likely to breach public peace written against Dilly Motors Limited and its founder, Okwudili Umenyiora, by Solalina Mass Transport Limited.

The petition, which was written by Charles Iroh, Head of Chambers, Triax Solicitors, said in 2019, Umenyiora, the Managing Director of DML, approached his client to facilitate vehicle supplies to the Bayelsa State government.

The petition said: “This discussion continued until early 2020 when it was agreed that our client should use its wealth of expertise in the transportation industry and contacts to facilitate the contract in favour of Dilly Motors Limited.

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“Our client, being an indigenous company with core focus on haulage, charter and transportation service, supply chain management, specialist vehicles and expert drivers, specialist on-board kit and equipment and other transport services, was contracted as a facilitator to Dilly Motors Limited by virtue of a Vehicle Procurement/Facilitation Agreement dated February 17, 2020 with clear terms and conditions.

“That through our client’s dedication and expertise, On March 5, 2020, the said Dilly Motors Limited got the job. Sequel to this, the company through its MD, Okwudili Umenyiora, told our client that the contract value for the vehicle supply was in the sum of two billion, three hundred and five million, two hundred and thirty four thousand naira (N2, 305, 234, 000) only.

“It was very clear in the agreement that our client was entitled to a certain percentage of the contract sum and when our client asked for the contract documents, Okwudili refused to avail our client of the information.”

The lawyer said having facilitated the supply contract based on the agreement for the payment of the percentage of the total sum his client reached with the firm, his client discovered that the contract value was N2.5bn instead of the N2.3bn stated by the contractor, an intent to further cheat his client.

He averred that the contractor had refused to pay the commission to his client despite receiving almost full payment from the state government and rather resorting to fraudulent tactics, threat and blackmail.

Meanwhile, it was confirmed that prior to the criminal investigation by the police, Solalina had filed a civil action with suit number YHC/108/2020 in the High Court sitting in Yenagoa and presided by Justice T. I Cocodia for breach of contract.

All parties in the civil matter had been served and the case scheduled for hearing on July 21, 2020.

In the suit, Solalina is seeking to enforce its rights in a finder’s fee, facilitation agreement entered into with Dilly Motors for the supply of vehicles to the Bayelsa State Government.

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The Nation

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