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COVID-19 contractors accuse FCTA permsec of bribery

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PHOTO: John Moore/Getty Images/AFP

Contractors supplying Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) medication and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) have accused the FCTA Permanent Secretary, Mr. Olusade Adesola, of demanding N1 million from each of them before they can be paid.

The contractors claimed they executed various COVID-19 jobs for the administration between March 2020 and April 2021 without payment.

But Adesola has denied ever asking anybody for N1 million bribe, stressing that the delay in paying the contractors was due to their failure to meet all the administrative requirements.

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He said: “I am not aware of any bribe payment of N1 million. The only instruction I gave was that all documents should be in file before payments could be effected. The payment is in batches; some contractors below N10 million have been paid. If there are issues, the contractors are the cause because they are yet to meet up with the requirements.”

The over 300 suppliers, yesterday, stormed the Area 11 offices housing the ministers as and the permanent secretary, chanting protest songs as they blocked the major entrances with placards.

“Don’t forget you begged us to assist” and “COVID-19 scandal: FCTA diverts funds meant for contractors” were among the inscriptions on the placards.

Few weeks ago, Adesola similarly battled with the administration’s labour unions over alleged occupation of his office illegally.

One of the contractors, Emmanuel Nwachendu, told journalists: “The accusation of paying N1 million bribe before you are paid is true. This is one whole year after the supplies. The agreement states that two weeks after supply, you only bring forward your invoice and you will be paid.

“This is one year running and what we are hearing is that each of the contractors has to pay N1 million bribe to the permanent secretary before we can be paid.”

Adesola, who appealed to the contractors to exercise patience, however, revealed that despite the challenges of funding, the administration had paid 109 contractors who supplied PPE to the Health and Human Services Secretariat (HHSS) and 54 contractors in other Secretariats, Departments and Agencies (SDAs).

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COVID-19Olusade Adesola
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