•Probes N10bn, $28m expended on project, loan disbursement
Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo
Governor of Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke has directed the immediate suspension of the project consultant for the Ilesa Water Project, Mrs. Tawa Williams over her questionable handling of $106 million loan for the project.
The governor in a statement issued yesterday, by his spokesperson, Mallam Olawale Rasheed, also ordered full scale probe of the entire project and disbursed loans especially as there had been no progress on the project despite the reported disbursement of N10 billion and another $28 million on it.
The governor equally suspended the project coordinator to allow for unhindered review of the loan administration while the consultant was directed to return to government the N70 million bullet proof jeep in her possession.
According to the statement, Adeleke’s directive was sequel to the interim report of the State’s Assets Recovery Committee chaired by Dr. B.T. Salami, which made recommendations for immediate action to stop further squandering of loans secured to execute the water project.
The State Chief Executive frowned at alleged large scale corruption reflected in the handling of the loans and the project, an action he regretted had denied people of Ilesa and environs of drinkable water.
“My administration will dig into this matter with all seriousness. The huge fund in question are loans to be repaid. We have a sacred duty to ensure accountability and transparency in the handling of the fund and the project,” Adeleke affirmed.
The Assets Recovery Committee had submitted an interim report which revealed an ongoing large scale pilfering of the procured loans while the project recorded no progress commensurate with reported expenditure.
According to the interim report of the Salami-led committee, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) agreed to fund the project to the tune of $65 million, while the federal government provided $41.94 million.
“So far, a total of $27.073 million has been expended from the IDB loan of $65 million, leaving a balance of the sum of $37.926 million. However, from the federal government’s loan of $41.94 million which the consultant had converted to N12 billion, the sum of N10 billion had been purportedly spent on the project, leaving a balance of N2 billion,” the report stated.
The committee noted that despite the huge sums of $27.073 million and N10 billion of the state resources (repayable loans) already spent so far, the Ilesa water project was not yet functional and the good people of Ilesa were yet to access any water.
According to the statement, some of the recommendations of the committee which Adeleke endorsed included: “The suspension of the consultant and the Project Coordinator with immediate effect; the government should take a second look at the process leading to the auctioning of the various water pipes across the state and the revenue which accrued therefrom.
“Given the enormity of the money involved in the Ilesa Water Project which are loans repayable by the Osun State government both to IDB and the federal government, the execution of the project be probed with a view to ensuring that the state gets value for its money and that the loans are not diverted to private pockets.
“The N70 million bullet-proof project vehicle in possession of the Consultant be immediately retrieved from her.”