By James Lukas
A non-governmental organisation, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) said it has obtained a list containing names of corrupt contractors who got paid but failed to execute projects from the minister of power, works and housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola.
In a statement on Sunday, a copy of which was obtained by INSIDER, the deputy director of SERAP, Mr. Kolawole Oluwadare, said his organisation has been invited to inspect a compendium of verified and paid/outstanding liabilities of contractors kept at the offices of the Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Limited/GTE.
According to Oluwadare, a letter from the ministry of power, works and housing, with reference number FMP/LU/R2K/2016/T/40 and signed on behalf of the minister by Louis Edozien, the ministry’s permanent secretary, revealed how Pow Technologies Limited, an Abuja-based company, was awarded a contract in 2014 to the tune of N87,763,302.40 for the supply and installation of test and maintenance equipment relays to various NAPTIN regional training centers (RTCs) (LOT15).
A total of N79,404,892.66 was said to have been paid to Pow Technologies Limited, but only 13 of the 19 items have so far been supplied.
Oluwadare further revealed that the ministry disclosed that even though some of the contractors undertook to take remedial action, they have failed to complete the project for which funds have been released. This has prompted the ministry to submit a petition to the commissioner of police, Abuja on January 13, 2016, who has also instituted a case for the prosecution of Messrs Pow at the upper area court.
Fashola’s ministry was also said to have sought and received legal advice to pursue a civil action at the FCT high court while a report of criminal breach of contract has been made to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“I write with respect to the Ministry’s letter regarding details of alleged corrupt contractors and to forward the attached responses from some of the Ministry’s Agencies namely: National Bulk Electricity Trading Plc; National Power Training Institute of Nigeria and Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Limited/GTE for your information,” the ministry’s letter read.
But in response to the letter from the ministry, SERAP responded that it needed more names of contractors who failed to deliver power projects after being paid.
“We welcome Mr Fashola’s latest response and the information regarding Pow Technologies Limited. But we need details of names of other contractors that have collected public funds yet failed to execute power projects,” SERAP said.
“We will continue to push the Ministry and its agencies to reveal more details of alleged corrupt contractors and companies, as contained in our FOI request. We will continue to pursue our FOI suit at the Federal High Court, Lagos, before Justice Chuka Austine Obiozor, a Professor of Law, who has granted an order for leave in the case.”
It would be recalled that in February, SERAP sued Mr. Babatunde Fashola, compelling him to provide specific details of the names and whereabouts of the contractors as stipulated in a freedom of information (FOI) request to the ministry.