Akwa Ibom govt debunks Akpabio’s claim on completion of hotel

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The Akwa Ibom State government on Monday described as false the claim by the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Godswill Akpabio that the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Ikot Ekpene was over 98 per cent completed as at the time he left office in 2015.

The reaction came following publications in some national dailies of Saturday, August 25,
2018 where the All Progressives Congress (APC) alleged that the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene was over 98 per cent completed as at the time Senator Godswill Akpabio vacated office in 2015.

In a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Charles Udoh and made available to DAILY POST, the Commissioner said it sounded ludicrous for the immediate past governor to allege that his administration fulfilled all franchise requirements with Starwood Hotels and Resort for the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel and that the current administration was only expected to pay the fees when it fell due in 2015.

Udoh, who said that the present state government would not have dignified “such brazen lies” with a response but that it was expedient to react in order to set the record straight, disclosed that the immediate past governor commissioned the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene without a signed Franchise agreement and full complement of requisite furniture and fittings.

He further said that 95 per cent of the total contract sum was approved and disbursed by the immediate past governor as building and site improvement cost and the worldwide standard for building and site improvement cost component of a full-service 4-star hotel in an emerging market is 64 per cent of the total cost of the hotel – (Hospitality Valuation Services HSV)

The Akwa Ibom government therefore challenged Senator Akpabio to validate his claims of having fulfilled the requisite contractual obligations with Starwood Hotel Resort for the Four Points by Sheraton franchise by publishing a copy of the signed management agreement and a copy of the Certificate of Incorporation of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) he used for the transaction, stressing that the SPV that manages the transaction on behalf of the Akwa Ibom State Government; Raffia City Hotels and Tours Limited, was incorporated on June 11, 2015; more than one month after Senator Akpabio had commissioned the hotel.

Pressing further, Udoh queried Senator Akpabio on why the hotel which he claimed to have commissioned was unable to start operations before the end of his administration? and why there were no guest traffic count and/or feasibility study carried out to justify the N25.4bn investment in a 146 room hotel?

He also asked: Why were external caterers hired to bring in food if the kitchen and dining facilities were ready, equipped and commissioned? and why the hotel is a subject of discussion now; three years after it was supposedly commissioned?

Part of the statement read, “It has become necessary for the public to know who is telling a lie and we feel obligated to state as follows:

1. That immediate past Governor commissioned the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene without a signed Franchise agreement and full complement of requisite furniture and fittings.

We challenge immediate past Governor to validate his claims of having fulfilled the requisite contractual obligations with Starwood Hotel Resort for the Four Points by Sheraton franchise by publishing a copy of the signed management agreement.

When was the agreement signed? Who were the signatories and witnesses to the transaction?

Which Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) was used in signing the agreement before vacating office.

The SPV that manages the transaction on behalf of the Akwa Ibom State Government; Raffia City Hotels and Tours Limited was incorporated on June 11, 2015; more than one month after Senator Akpabio had commissioned the hotel. (Certificate of Incorporation attached).

To set the records straight, the Senator should also publish a copy of the Certificate of Incorporation of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) he used for the transaction.

Regrettably, it paints an unpalatable picture of mischief for the immediate past Governor; a lawyer by profession, to present an unsigned and unverified press statement in the Nation newspaper of July 12, 2014 as evidence of a legal contractual obligation on a high networth project as one in question. This is a brazen and unremorseful attempt at demeaning the intelligence of the good people of Akwa Ibom State.

Who benefited from the over 95% payment his administration disbursed on a half-completed hotel?

While the Akwa Ibom State Government is reluctant to engage in a mudslinging combat with anybody, we will provide more facts to justify who is telling the truth and who is lying when the questions asked are answered.”

Culled from here

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