The Ministry of Works and Housing has explained why initial payments were made to CARTIL Construction Company for the reconstruction of Ife-Ifewara Road, Osun.
The road was later rehabilitated by Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) after it was abandoned by the contractor.
An official of the Church, Pastor Niyi Adebanjo, had in a petition to the Senate alleged that the ministry in 2016 and 2019 paid N151million to the company as part payment for the road reconstruction.
Adebanjo had submitted the petition on behalf of the General Overseer of the RCCG, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, and Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, referred the document to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.
The Church in the petition alleged that the construction firm claimed the sum of N151 million as reimbursement for the reconstruction of the road, which the church constructed.
“The rehabilitation of the road was awarded and paid for by Pastor Enoch Adeboye in the sum of N188,440,342, hence the claim by CARTIl Construction Nigeria Limited was illegal and unjust, ” he said.
But the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola who appeared before Senate Committee of Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions said the contractor CARTIL did not claim any money between 2016 and 2019 contrary to the claim in the petition.
He said payments were made in 2011, based on the guarantee submitted and the interim statement generated by the company.
” The ministry of works also did not make any payments to CARTIL construction between 2016 and 2019 and we did not certify any work on that road done by CARTIL between the period,” he said.
“These payments were all made four years before the Buhari’s administration,” he explained.
He stated that the ministry did not make any payment to the contractor as a refund or certify any work done between 2016 and 2019.
Fashola said that the road was not a federal road but a 15 kilometers trunk B road in Osun.
He said the road was one of the constituency projects initiated by a then-senator representing the zone in 2010.
He said the contract was awarded on Dec 21, 2010 at a cost of N662 million with an order to commence work on March 7, 2011 and to be complete on Nov 7, 2011.
He said the ministry paid 15 per cent mobilisation fee of the contract sum of N99.414 million in line with the procurement act in 2011.
He said the ministry also made another payment of N52 million in Dec 29, 2011 based on an interim statement submitted by the contractor, having mobilised to the site.
Fashola said the two payments were made in 2011, contrary to the claim that they were made in 2016 and 2019.
“This administration did not make this payment,I did not make this payment contrarily to the allegations made by the petitioner,” he said.
He said the ministry became unsatisfied with the contractor and issued a warning letter to him in 2014 and 2015 to terminate the contract.
“The payments made to the contractor were made in 2011 in accordance with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act on mobilisation fee not exceeding 15 per cent of the contract sum,” he said.
Responding on behalf of RCCG, the Petitioner, Pastor Niyi Adebanjo apologised to the minister saying that the petition was not targeted at him, but was meant to expose some perceived sharp practices.
Adebanjo said that they thought that the Federal Government was to approve another payment for the road which was rehabilitated free by Pastor Encoh Adeboye as part of the church’s Social Corporate Responsibility.
“The rehabilitation of the road was awarded and paid for by Pastor Enoch Adeboye, hence any further claim by any company should be seen as illegal and unjust.”
“Ministry of Works and Housing deserves an apology from us and because the whole world is listening to us, I tender that apology “Unreservedly,” he said.
Speaking, the Committee Chairman, Sen. Patrick Akinyelure, commended the minister for his presentation and for correcting the impression that some monies were paid during the Buhari-led administration.
He said that the purpose of the public hearing was to clear all grey areas regarding payments that were alleged to be paid by the ministry and not to witch-hunt anybody.
He commended the RCCG for the intervention and for crying out for the perceived wrongdoing but charged them to follow due procedure and guidelines in future intervention to avoid a repeat of such occurrence.
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