Despite Dormancy, Multiple Identities, Nigeria Govt Signs Fraudulent Multi Billion Naira Railway Project Agreement 

The federal government has announced that its  Ministry of Transport has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Messrs MPH Rail Development Limited, a United Kingdom company, for the implementation of the Port Harcourt–Enugu–Calabar–Abuja Standard Gauge Rail Line.

The MOU is intended for the implementation of the rail line project through a public-private partnership framework.

According to the details of the agreement seen by WikkiTimes, the UK firm will manage the design, construction, commissioning, operation, and eventual transfer of the Port Harcourt–Enugu–Calabar–Abuja Standard Gauge Rail Line.

WikkiTimes can report that a public-private partnership involves a long-term agreement between a private firm and the government, where the private company takes an interest in funding a project of the government in return for operational profit over some time.

Which organization is MPH Rail Development Limited? 

Registered with the United Kingdom government in 2019 as Mordecai JB Limited, the company initially had two directors, Jason Andrew (appointed on September 26, 2019) and Smith David Neil (appointed on December 20, 2020).

However, between August 1st, 2023, and January 1st, 2024, four Nigerians were appointed as directors. They include  Osinowo Dacosta Rotimi (August 1, 2023); Ikuforiji Adeyemi Sabitun (August 1, 2023), Gbadamosi Mudashiru Oriyomi (16 January 2024), and Osinowo Olubode Sayeed (16 January 2024).

The appointment of Nigerians occurred two months before the federal government announced it had entered into a public-private partnership with the organization.

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Inactive in Nigeria, Active in the United Kingdom with Just 1000 Shares 

WIkkiTimes analysis using Open Source Intelligence Tools shows that MPH Rail Development Limited has two identities.

On February 26th, 2021, the company changed its name from Mordecai JB Limited in the United Kingdom to MPH Rail Development Limited, according to documents seen by WikkiTimes. However, before then, in 2017, it registered Mordecai JB Limited in Nigeria.

The organization registered in Nigeria in 2017 before registering in the United Kingdom in 2019.

Section 58 of the Public Procurement Act of 2007 was categorical about the type of punishment when public officers violate the procurement procedures in the award and execution of contracts.

The law says offices found wanting in awarding contracts by defying due process are liable to five or 10 years imprisonment, while Section 38 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007 says it is prohibited to award contracts to contractors without compliance with procurement rules.

Despite the laws to ensure there is no room for corruption, transparency and accountability in public procurement remain a mirage.

But the manipulation of the public procurement process is causing the country to lose 30 percent of its resources, according to the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Management of Nigeria, CIPSN

The Institute has on several occasions called on the federal government to quickly reverse the trend by constituting the National Council on Procurement, which will come up with policies in line with international best practices.

WikkiTimes can authoritatively report that the award of the multi-billion naira railway project to  MPH Rail Development Limited is a violation of the Nigerian procurement law. The law frowns against companies that are inactive in winning, contracts.

Section 6 of the Public Procurement Act of 2007 argues that for companies to bid on government contracts, they must possess financial capacity, meet legal requirements, and have fulfilled their tax obligations—none of which is traceable to MPH Rail Development LTD (Mordecai JB Limited).

So while in the United Kingdom, the company’s name is “MPH Rail Development Limited”, in Nigeria, from the onset, it bears a different name, “Mordecai JB Limited ”.

It was not until November 2023, a few months before the PPP with the Nigerian government, that it registered “MPH Rail Development Limited with the Corporate Affairs Commission, according to publicly available information on the CAC.

It’s unclear why Mordecai JB Limited, which started in Nigeria, changed its name in the United Kingdom to MPH Rail Development Limited, but remained as Mordecai JB Limited in Nigeria, albeit inactive, only to register “MPH Rail Development Limited” with the CAC three months after the PPP agreement with the Nigerian government was announced.

According to official MPH Rail Development company details, in the United Kingdom, Andrew Jason holds 300 shares, the same as David Smith, making them both the highest shareholders for MPH Rail Development Limited.

For Mordecai JB Limited in Nigeria, Andrew Johnson is also the highest shareholder, with 300,000 ordinary shares.

In Nigeria, Mordecai JB Limited, on which Jason sits as a majority shareholder, is also listed as inactive.

1000 Shares, History of Threat to Dissolve

Checks by WikkiTimes show that the total shares allotted to MPH Rail Development Limited are 1000.

Shares are important indicators of the value of a business. For instance, the face value of MPH Rail Development Limited stood at £1000, which represents the value of the organization.

While Jason holds 300 shares, David Smith accounts for another 300 shares, and two other Nigerians hold 200 shares each.

Checks show that upon registering as “Mordecai JB Limited” in the UK in 2019 before changing its name to MPH Rail Development Limited”, the organization was allotted only 100 shares, valued at 100 Great Britain Pounds.

The aggregate nominal value of the company put at £1000 (for 1000 shares allotted as of 2023) questions the ability of such a company to execute the public-private partnership entered into with the Nigerian government. If the aggregate nominal value of the organization’s shares is converted to naira, it would mean that the MPH Rail Development Limited shares are worth N2 million (using £1 to N2000).

In May 2022, the United Kingdom government threatened to strike out MPH Rail Development Limited from its register.

Although the company was not struck off in the later run.

Dormant in the UK, King in Nigeria

WIkkiTimes findings show that the company, in its financial statements for 2021 and 2022, sought to benefit from exemption under Section 480 of the United Kingdom Companies Act 2006 relating to “dormant companies.”.

In 2021 and 2022, the cash at hand and bank for the organization stood at £100.

The cash at hand and bank standing at £100 mean that the company is not liquid enough to meet its obligations. As of 2022, the money the MPH Rail Development Limited had in cash and any bank stood at N200,000 naira.

The issued share capital of the company also stood at £100 for both years. The issued share capital in naira stood at N200,000 (using £1 at N2000).

While MPH Rail Development mentioned its dormancy in the United Kingdom, it is inactive in Nigeria.

How We Found the Connection between MPH Rail Development Limited and Nigerian Political Elites

Using social network analysis, WikkiTime’s findings show the relationship between MPH Rail Development Limited and Nigerian political elites.

One of its directors, appointed on August 1st, 2023, is a former speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Ikuforiji Adeyemi Sabitun.

He served as the speaker of the House of Assembly between 2005 and 2015.

Ikuforiji is a close ally of Nigeria’s current President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

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Ikuforiji in the Game of Panic?

Shortly after the transportation minister announced that the federal government had agreed with MBH Rail Development Limited, the news quickly dominated social media discussions among Nigerians. They questioned the decision to award the public-private partnership agreement to a company with no previous experience in railway construction and reportedly linked to Ikuforiji.

In response to the public outcry, investigations by WikkiTimes revealed that on the same day, MPH Rail Development Limited dismissed Ikuforiji from his director position. His shares were then transferred to Andrew Jason, the key figure behind MPH Rail Construction Limited.

It is unclear why the organization withdrew Ikufoji shares and transferred them to Andrew Jason, on the same day that uproar greeted the award of the PPP to it.

Fact-checking MPH Rail Development Limited Address 

MPH Rail Development has a history of inconsistencies in its operational address. 

On October 29, 2020, the organization first changed its operational address from Unit 24, Highcroft Industrial Estate Enterprise Road Waterlooville, to 104, Stanley Road Hounslow. 

On February 13, 2021, it changed its address from 104 Stanley to the third floor, 207 Regent Street, London. 

On May 13, 2022, it changed its address from the third floor to Martlesham Walk, London.

It again changed its official address on October 30th, 2023, from 2, Martlesham Walk to 104, Stanley Road, Hounslow.

Using Google Earth, WikkiTimes checks show that one of its addresses, “2, Martlesham Walk,” is occupied prominently by a school. 

MPH Rail Development Lacks Online Presence?

WikkiTimes checked with MPH Rail Development Limited to examine its digital footprint. However, no official website was found for the organization. 

The nearest footprint found for the firm is that of its director, Andrew Jason, through his LinkedIn profile.

Efforts to reach the Transportation Minister, Senator Alkali Saidu, through his official line failed His number failed to connect, and text messages sent were not replied to as of the time of filing this report.

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