‘N14b priority projects awarded, abandoned in 2016 audit report’
Priority projects worth N13.5 billion were awarded and abandoned in 2016, a study conducted by the Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative (PLSI) into the audit report of that year has found. It stated that N2.74 billion of the sum were also unaccounted for.
The Executive Director of PLSI, Olusegun Elemo, who presented the findings to journalists yesterday in Abuja, disclosed that of the 19 major projects monitored in 12 states, only one was completed, two unexecuted, while 10 were abandoned.According to him, three of them were poorly executed; two ongoing, while one other found its way into the 2018 Appropriation Act.
The survey listed some of the forsaken projects under the Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority, Abeokuta to include the contracts for the phase two construction of a mini-water scheme; small earth dam; rehabilitation of two-township water supply schemes as well as improvement of Olode Water Supply Scheme, all in Ogun State.
In the Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority axis, it mentioned abandoned contracts like the proposed perimeter fencing of Weru Bridge and that of Okene Water Works among others.Under the Ministry of Works, the study spotted the contract for the unfinished rehabilitation of Ikorodu Road project in Lagos, which N112.8 million could not be accounted for. Also highlighted was the abandoned rehabilitation work on the 24-kilometre Akungba-Ikare-Omuo-Kabba highway in Ondo and Ekiti states.
Elemo further revealed that a contract for the supply and installation of 200 three-in-one-classroom desks for the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) was not executed after N23.6 million had reportedly been paid to the contractor.The contractor was also said to have been mobilised N44.6 million for supply of lecture seats to same tertiary institution but still did not fulfill his part of the bargain even after over-quoting by N2.1 million. Regrettably too, N23.6 million of the sum developed wings.
The executive director observed that in all of the 12 states visited, there was a recurring issue of disobedience for procurement laws and financial regulations.The PLSI boss therefore called on the relevant anti-corruption agencies to investigate the misappropriated N2. 97 billion by the various contractors with a view to getting real value for the money as well as institutionalising probity in government and private businesses.
Also speaking, the Project Director of Trust Africa, Chinedu Nwagu, charged the National Assembly to extensively review the audit report in question, noting: “It is only when this is done and recommendations are forwarded to the executive arm that these anomalies could be corrected.”He called for the transmission of the Audit Service Commission Bill 2018 for presidential assent to check irregularities in the procurement chain.
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