Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu in Abuja
The federal government yesterday said it was planning to shame and publish the names of contractors who won contracts but failed to execute the projects across the country.
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, who made this known said his ministry would soon publish “a black list” of defaulting contractors who failed to meet their own end of the bargain with the federal government.
The minister stated this when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition to testify in a petition written against his Ministry and Cartil Construction Limited by the Redeem Christian Church of God Christian Church (RCCG), adding that apart from making public the contractors’ names, the ministry would also be making claims of time value for money.
RCCG had in the petition dated February 9, 2021 signed by Pastor Niyi Adebanjo on behalf of the General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye accused the ministry of making payment to the tune of N151million to Cartil Construction Limited for the rehabilitation of the Ife- Ifewara Road in Osun State, which the Church said road was constructed by it as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
The RCCG therefore requested that Cartil Construction Limited should be made to refund the money and return it to the government coffer.
The Church said “if anyone is to be reimbursed for the rehabilitation of the road it should be us and not the contractor”.
In his testimony, Fashola punctured all the claims contained in petition saying “this is a petition, on the basis of what has been shown, that could have been resolved by a simple letter written on the Freedom of Information Act but in spite of the fact that you gave this out to Nigerians, the petitioner chose to come here, go to the pages of newspapers and essentially put our collective integrity as a ministry and as a government under needless scrutiny.
“The facts have shown that there is no basis for this. The allegations as reported are essentially false. They border on defamatory and I hope that the petitioner after listening to this will do the right thing and tender an apology. I think he got his facts all mixed up.”
He stated that it was false that payments were made between 2016 to 2018 for the construction of the road; adding that part of why the road was abandoned between 2013 and 2017 was because there was no budgetary allocation for the project.
According to him, the contract for the road was awarded to Cartil Construction in December 2010 for N600 million as one of the several Constituency projects executed under the Ministry of Works; five years before the Buhari’s administration.
He said based on Section 36 of the Public Procurement Act, the contractor was entitled to 15 per cent as mobilisation fee. He said the contractor initiated for the 15 per cent and the then minister graciously approved and paid Carti Construction Limited N 99.4 billion.
The minister said having moved to site, a second payment of N52 million was made on the 29th of December, 2011; bringing the total to N151 million which according to him was erroneously claimed to have been paid in 2016 by RCCG.
Fashola gave Cartil Construction Limited, a clean bill of health when he testified in its favour that it did not claim any money between 2016 and 2018 because as at that time the contract had already been terminated in 2015.
In his final submission, the minister said the Ministry did nothing wrong, acted according to its mandate and is not liable to the petition.
According to him, there was no proof that an unjust claim was made by the contractor or made by the ministry and that there was no basis for the petition which bothers on falsehood and defamation.
Realising the errors in his petition, the petitioner, Pastor Adebanjo apologised on behalf of the General Overseer of RCCG to the minister.
He also admitted that he had no evidence to back up claims that funds were released in 2011 to Cartil Construction Limited.