- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 9, 2004

The D.C. Office of the Inspector General is investigating the award of three construction contracts to a local businessman recently convicted of racketeering for his role in a crime ring that defrauded federal and city housing programs.

Interim Inspector General Austin A. Andersen said his office opened an investigation last month into city contracts to D.C. businessman Olushola Akinleye and General Services Inc. worth more than $1.3 million.

The contracts, awarded during the summer, were revoked last month after The Washington Times reported that Akinleye recently was convicted of racketeering and bank fraud in connection with a crime ring that bilked more than $1 million from local banks and city and federal housing programs.

Mr. Andersen said the office began the investigation at the request of the D.C. Office of Contracting and Procurement.

“It was referred to us and we are investigating it,” Mr. Andersen said.

Investigators will be looking into whether Akinleye misrepresented himself to the D.C. government when he signed documents stating that neither he nor any company officials had been convicted in any matter involving fraud or official misconduct.

According to records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, Akinleye signed a “certificate of eligibility” stating that no company directors or owners at General Services Inc. had been indicted or convicted during the past three years.

But according to the Department of Justice, Akinleye is awaiting sentencing and he could serve federal prison time after he, a company he co-owned called Protech Builders Inc., and four others were convicted last year in a property flipping scheme.

Akinleye used a fake driver’s license and falsified loan applications as part of the plot to buy foreclosed properties in the District before flipping them for inflated prices, court records show.

If the Inspector General’s Office discovers that Akinleye misrepresented himself, city investigators would refer the matter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which then could pursue prosecution or decline to file charges against him.

The city is in the process of finding new contractors after revoking the construction jobs awarded to Akinleye and General Services Inc. to renovate a firehouse in Southeast, repair a Ward 5 seniors center and install a parking lot at the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services training facility.

Contract award notifications posted by city contracting officials during the summer list Akinleye as the contractor and General Services Inc. as the business receiving the construction jobs.

Akinleye has said that he did nothing wrong by signing the certificates of eligibility. He said he signed the contract documents on behalf of the owner of General Services Inc., not himself. City business records indicate that Akinleye’s wife, Monreti, owns the company.

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