Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Forum of Delta State Contractors has called on the Economic and Finance Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the Delta State government over the contract awarded to Julius Berger to the tune of N78 billion.
But the Delta State government, in a swift reaction debunked the allegations, saying it was the handiwork of those who lost election to the sitting governor deploying local contractors to distract government.
The contractors, in a statement signed by the Coordinator, Solomon Ejiroghene, said the government of Delta state abandoned the local contractors in Delta and neighbouring states and gave out a contract for the expansion of a section of the DSC/NPA Expressway, including a cloverleaf interchange at the existing Effurun flyover to foreign contractor with the intent of getting a kick-back.
Part of the contract also involved construction of two pedestrian bridges and flyover at Enerhen junction to Marine Gate, DSC roundabout and PTI junction.
The forum also alleged that the state government had already made full payment of N78 billion and planned to do a variation of the project.
The forum also kicked against payment of full contract sum instead of the initial 15 per cent or 25 per cent as the case maybe and alleged that there are plans to increase the contract to about N125 billion after variation.
When contacted Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Delta State Governor, Festus Ahon, queried: “Do you think Julius Berger will pad project? Pls call the Commissioner for Works in charge of urban and highway roads, Comrade Reuben Izeze.
In his reaction, the Commissioner for Works in Delta State, Izeze Reuben, in a chat with newsmen, described the claims as false and defended the action of the state government.
He said those who lost out in the 2023 general elections were using local contractors to fight the state government.
The commissioner, while dismissing the allegations, said the Governor Sheriff Oborevwori won election convincingly and did not need to bribe anyone.
He insisted that what was paid to the contractor was only 25 per cent and the project is expected to be completed in 27 months.
He further dismissed claims that plans were underway to have a contract variation and jerk up the contract sum significantly.
“Those who lost elections are the people fighting. The governor won the elections and has no reason to bribe anyone. We only paid 25% to the contractor and we have no plans to have any contract variation”, he said.