‘I’ll Ask Our Agencies To Provide Details Of Corrupt Contractors’, Fashola Replies SERAP

It's 'Unarguable' We Have Improved Power 'With Less Resources', Says Fashola
file Photo: Babatunde Fashola

 

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) has promised to ask the ministry’s agencies to provide details of corrupt contractors.

This was disclosed in a statement issued on Sunday by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare.

According to the statement, Fashola in a letter dated March 9, 2019, and signed on his behalf by Louis O.N. Edozien, Permanent Secretary (Power), promised: “to refer the request for details of alleged contractors and companies that collected money for electricity projects and failed to execute any projects to the Ministry’s agencies for necessary action and appropriate response.”

It reads in part: “I write to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated 8th February 2019 which is in response to the Ministry’s letter dated January 2019.

“There may be instances of part-payment against certification of commensurate value for materials and services in achieved contract milestone even though the entire contract is not 100% performed.”

“But the Ministry does not have a record of any contractors that collected 100% payment and failed to execute a contract. The Ministry’s procurement and contract administration processes are strictly guided by relevant regulations that require the Ministry to ensure Advanced Payment is limited to 15% of the contract sum and is backed by an Advanced Payment Bank Guarantee (APG).”

“Our regulations also require the Ministry to release any APG only after recovery of commensurate value of contracted materials and services from the contractors who provided the APG. We make payments only upon certification of receipt of commensurate value for materials and services from the contractor.”

SERAP on the other hand, said: “We welcome Mr Fashola’s latest response, and look forward to the Ministry’s agencies getting to the root of the matter by publishing without further delay details of alleged corrupt contractors and companies, as contained in our FOI request.”

It would be recalled that Mr Fashola had earlier said in response to SERAP’s FOI request that: “the Ministry has searched for the requested information on details of alleged contractors and companies that collected money for electricity projects and failed to executive any projects, but we could not find it from our records.”

Mr Fashola’s initial response followed SERAP’s FOI request and suit number FHC/L/CS/105/19 filed last month at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos.

The suit is seeking “an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus directing and/or compelling him to provide specific details on the names and whereabouts of the contractors who collected public funds meant for electricity projects but disappeared with the money without executing any projects.”

SERAP’s reaction to which Mr Fashola has now responded read in part: “Indiscriminate attempts to limit disclosure of information of public interest such as the details of the names of alleged corrupt contractors and companies that SERAP is seeking, will undermine the government’s expressed commitment to transparency and accountability.”

“We believe that the predisposition by all public institutions and agencies including the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing should be to grant access to public information and not to implicitly deny it. Indeed, disclosure, not secrecy, is the dominant objective of the FOI Act. This objective would be defeated if there is public perception that public institutions and agencies attempt to shield information of public interest from disclosure or abdicate statutory responsibilities.

“Although we have filed a case in court for remedial action and seeking an order to compel you and your Ministry to release the information requested, we urge you to take proactive steps to obtain the information from any other public institution or agency that may be holding the requested information, and to send to us the information without further delay. Your Ministry should not wait until the court makes it decision to compel you to disclose the requested information.

“SERAP believes that it should be the practice of your Ministry and indeed other public institutions and agencies to hold and keep records of public information including on names of alleged corrupt contractors and companies with the expectation to release any such information when requested.

“SERAP believes that even assuming that your Ministry has faithfully searched for the information requested and that the information is not held by your Ministry as claimed, your Ministry should still have taken steps to approach and request from other public institution or institutions that may be holding the requested information, in line with the provisions of the FOI Act.

“SERAP believes that your response implicitly amounts to a refusal by your Ministry to provide the information requested, as allowed under the FOI Act.

“We note that your Ministry has a responsibility under Sections 1(1)(2), 2(2)(3)(4), 5 and 9 of the FOI Act to record and keep information about all its activities, operations and businesses, including on the specific names and details of alleged corrupt contractors and companies in order to facilitate public access to any such information.”

No Names Of Alleged Corrupt Contractors From Our Record, Fashola Tells SERAP

No Names Of Alleged Corrupt Contractors From Our Record, Fashola Tells SERAP
A file photo of Mr Babatunde Fashola

 

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola says his ministry could not get the names of corrupt contractors alleged to have looted funds in the power sector.

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) in a statement on Sunday by its Deputy Director, Mr Kolawole Oluwadare, said Fashola noted that the ministry does not have information on corrupt looters in its record.

“We have searched the ministry’s record and the information you applied for is not held by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing (Power Sector),” the minister was quoted as saying.

Fashola’s comments come barely a month after SERAP filed a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, asking him to publish the names of contractors who have failed to meet the terms of contracts they signed from 1999 to 2018.

READ ALSO: SERAP To Fashola: Publish Names Of Contractors Who Disappeared With Project Money

SERAP made the call following allegations by Mr Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Responding through the Director of Legal Services in the ministry, Mrs Shoetan Adesola, Mr Fashola acknowledged the request, stressing that the issue has been resolved under the FOI Act.

“The Ministry has searched for the requested information on details of alleged contractors and companies that collected money for electricity projects and failed to execute any projects, but we could not find it from our records.

“I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated 4th January 2019 in which you applied for the request to disclose details of alleged corrupt contractors and companies that collected money for electricity projects but failed to execute any projects. The request has been handled under the FOI Act,” she stated.

The organisation had in January sued the Minister for failing to disclose specific names and details of contractors and companies that allegedly collected money for electricity projects but failed to execute them.

Speed Up Completion Of Federal Roads, Senate Tells Contractors

 

The Senate Committee on Works has asked all contractors handling federal projects across the country to speed up the completion of such projects.

Chairman, Senate Committee, Senator Kabiru Gaya said the move was to ensure they meet up the timeline set in their contractual agreement.

Members of the committee while on oversight duties in Lagos on Sunday believe that many of the ongoing federal projects in the state will be completed soon for public use.

Some of the project sites visited by the committee include the trailer park in Apapa, Apapa wharf road and the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

See Photos Below: 

Oyo Govt. Mandates Contractors To Patronize 440,000 Artisans, Tradesmen

Oyo Govt. Mandates Contractors To Patronize 440,000 Artisans, TradesmenThe Oyo state government has said that contractors handling various projects in the state would be mandated to patronize about 440,000 tradesmen and artisans in executing government projects.

The State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, who made the annoucement at the flag – off of the tradesmen and artisans bio-metrics data capture and identification card project in Ibadan, explained that the bio-metrics and data capturing will serve as the database for providing commercial incentives and welfare packages for the various groups of artisans and tradesmen in the state.

“This is a project that has been on the front burner of government attention. We commend the tradesmen and artisans for recognising as well as appreciating continuous government’s efforts to better the lot of all and sundry. We want you to do more in adding to the socio-economic development of our State.

“The government will patronize you and we will mandate contractors handling various projects in the state to make use of your members in executing the government projects.

“We will not relent in doing more to encourage creativity and social empowerment by giving timely and frequent inputs in the form of financial power like revolving loans and other incentives to artisans and tradesmen in the state,” Ajimobi stressed.

He also added that the bio-metrics and identification card project would eradicate impersonation of members, provide opportunities to benefit from government social services and encourage special recognition to outstanding artisans and traders.

“It is important we enumerate the advantages inherent in this project for our people to know its values which include: easy access to government loans, recognition and identification of members of various artisans and tradesmen’s union as well as special rewards for outstanding artisans and tradesmen among others, because we will be able to ascertain true members,” he emphasized.

Meanwhile, the President, Oyo State Tradesmen and Artisans, Mr Yisau Kolayode, has praised the Ajimobi-led administration for always coming up with novel ideas to bring succor to the teeming masses of the state.

He said the bio-metric registration would reduce the rate at which his members were impersonated while the data gathered, would be useful for future engagements and programmes.

“Our figure of 440,000 tradesmen and artisans is a projection which may likely be more, but with the data collected in a standard form by government, it will show clearly, the number of tradesmen and artisans in Oyo State.”

“This data capturing would help flush out some bad eggs among artisans who engage in negative activities and we will surely know how many are true members as well as positioning legitimate members for benefits from government and corporate bodies,” Kolayode noted.

Also speaking of its benefits, Commissioner for Trade, Industry, Investment and Co-operatives, Princess Taibat Adeyemi-Agaba, said that the project will enhance the local content initiative of the present administration in the state.

She added that it will also bridge the gap between the government and governed as the initiative is capable of opening seamless opportunities within the informal sector.

Kaduna State Threatens To Publish Names Of Non Performing Contractors

YeroThe Kaduna State government has threatened to publish the names of contractors who collected money from the state government and abandoned the projects.

The government also said it would revoke any road contract that had failed to meet government’s expectations on quality delivery.

Governor Mukhtar Yero issued the threat through his spokesman, Ahmed Maiyaki, during an interaction with journalists on Tuesday.

The governor disclosed that  most of the abandoned road projects were awarded in 2012 by his predecessor, Late Patrick Yakowa, who died in a helicopter crash in December that year.

With the death of Yakowa, Governor Yero alleged that some of the contractors who were already mobilised with 25 per cent of the contract sum, abandoned the site with the intention of working away with taxpayers’ money.

He stated that some of the road contracts had been revoked by the government and re-awarded to competent contractors who have been given specific period to complete them.

Governor Yero further assured the indigenes of the state that the government would use all legal means to recover the money from the non performing contractors.

The governor urged the contractors, handling road projects in different parts of the state to increase their pace for greater impact before the next rainy season. He also expressed his commitment towards the rehabilitation of roads in the state, emphasising that he has not abandoned any road contract awarded by his predecessors.

Oyo Govt To Complete 1004 Housing Units In 12 Months

Gov Abiola AjimobiThe Oyo State Government has commenced the construction of two housing estates, with a total of 1,004 housing units to be completed within the next one year.

This is in addition to the over 2,000 units already being constructed along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

The estates known as ‘‘Lakeside Residential Estates” situated at Idi Ishin Reservation Area and Elenu Shonsho area of Ibadan, the state capital, occupy about 20 hectares of land.

The Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, speaking about shelter being one of man’s most important needs, said that his administration embarked on the housing project to ensure that citizens do not lack those basic needs.

He added: “I’ll particularly like to state that we also envisage that this is the first phase, the other phases will come and it will cumulate in a total of 10,000 housing units.”

Abia Governor Tasks Contractors, Go Back To Site Or Forfeit Payment

The contractors working for the Abia State Government have been called upon to go back to site or forfeit their payment.

This, according to the Government, is to ensure that the ongoing legacy projects in the state are completed within the desired time.

Governor Theodore Orji made this known during a meeting with the contractors at the executive chambers of the Government House Umuahia, where he expressed his displeasure at the attitude of some of the contractors who after collecting money from the State Government use it to buy new equipment for their construction company and then disappear from their site.

He hinted that this type of laxity on the part of the contractors would no longer be tolerated because of his desire to see that some of the monumental projects embarked on by his administration are completed before 2015.

The call came shortly after an inspection visit to the former Isi Gate Market, which has been demolished to create a delightful sight when entering the capital city, Umuahia.

In response, one of the contractors, Ifeanyi Okechukwu, pledged a commitment on behalf of his colleagues, that they would endeavour to finish the jobs given to them by the State Government within the stipulated time.

He also thanked the Governor for prompt payment.

Direct Labour Agency Workers In Delta Request Removal Of DG

The staff of Direct Labour Agency (DLA) one of the maintenance  agencies in the state and the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees(AUPCTRE) staged a peaceful protest against the Director General Mr Emmanuel Odafe Igbini.

It was gathered that Igbini was accused of frustrating all administrative and production departments in the agency with sole intent of being a sole administrator.

He was also alleged to have side-tracked the organisational structures to ensure  checks and balances or due process in financial guidelines just as he allegedly cancelled regular meetings of committee of directors unilaterally.

The first vice chairman of Nigerian Labour Congress, Delta state chapter, Comrade Christoher Iyeke pointed out that the position of labour is to continue to support the work force and ensure that the right thing is done.

Imo State Govt.To Revoke Unexecuted Contracts

The Imo State Government has vowed to revoke contracts from contractors who do not deliver their job on time as stipulated in the contract agreement between the parties.

The Commissioner for Lands, Housing and Urban Development; Mr Uche Nwosu disclosed this during a scheduled inspection to some state government’s monumental projects within Owerri, the Imo State capital.

He said it has come to the notice of the state government that some contractors after mobilization by the Government do not move to site as at when due, which in turn delays the completion of the project.

He said apart from the economic importance of these projects, they are also aimed at providing job employment to the unemployed youths in the state. He however warned all contractors to go back to site immediately to prevent any breach of contract.