You are here: HomeNews2022 01 13Article 514882

General News of Thursday, 13 January 2022

Source: thenationonlineng.net

Works Ministry to recover N1.174b from abandoned road contracts

Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF) Adolphus Aghughu Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF) Adolphus Aghughu

The Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF) Adolphus Aghughu has asked the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to recover N1.173 billion from contractors handling some non-performing road contracts in three Southsouth states.

The roads are a 15-kilometer interstate road from Aiyegunle, Akoko Edo Local Government Area of Edo State; rehabilitation of access road to Federal Government College, Ibillo-Ikpessa-Odo-Emory Isuwa road; and rehabilitation of Ifon-Uzebba-Iruekpen road.

They also include the rehabilitation of Agbor-Sakpoba-Ogharafe road with spur to Ewuru (four kilometers); Agbor-Sakpoba-Ogharafe road as well as the dualization of the Ahmadu-Obokun Phase I; and rehabilitation of Ahmadabad-Obokun-Okwuzi road in River State.

This is contained in the six audit queries from the ministry, as reflected in the 2019 report of the AuGF, signed by Aghughu and submitted to the National Assembly.

The report said the contract for the construction of a 15-kilometre interstate road from Aiyegunle, Akoko Edo Local Government Area in Edo State, to Imeri Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State, was awarded to a contractor on August 17, 2011, at the cost of N1.428 billion with an advance payment of N204 million while N74.460 million was recovered from Interim Payment Certificates.

The audit report said N663.594 million was certified and paid to the contractor for work done, while physical inspection of the project site in February 2020 revealed that the contractor demobilised from the project site in May 2014, even though the contract was supposed to have been completed on September 25, 2012, because the ministry refused to review the contract sum upward.

It said the ministry refused an upward review of the contract because it could not obtain a Certificate of No Objection leading to the contractor demobilising and abandoning the project.

The report also said the Permanent Secretary in the ministry should be asked to explain why advance payment should be made to the contractors without being backed by the required unconditional advance payment bank guarantee in accordance with extant regulations.

It said the contractor handling the rehabilitation of Ifon-Uzebba-Iruekpen road demobilised from the project site in 2013 after the ministry failed to review the contract sum upward.

But the report said the ministry explained that the contractors demobilised from site in June 2014 without notice.

According to the report, the ministry explained that the enquiry revealed that the contractor was placed under receivership, while the contract has since been recommended for termination.

The ministry said the dualisation of the Ahmadu-Obokun Phase I, rehabilitation of Ahmadabad-Obokun-Okwuzi road in Rivers State was only 8 percent completed when it discovered that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) had awarded the contract for the entire road as against the phased construction.

The reporter added that the ministry had to withdraw the contractors and recommend their transfer to another road, which was turned down by the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP).

Join our Newsletter!