Kwara State Commissioner for Works and Transport Engineer Suleiman Rotimi Iliasu has described a claim by a civil society group ENETSUD that his ministry was an accomplice in the alleged inflation of contract for the Ilesha-Baruba-Gwanara road as a gross misrepresentation of facts.
A statement issued by the press secretary of the ministry, Mansurat Amuda-Kannike quoted the commissioner as saying that the current administration acted in the best interest of the state when it saw the humongous amounts allocated to the 33km road for mere surface-dressing since 2013, the amount so far paid, the unfavourable terms of the contract, and the economic realities at the time.
“We note what may pass for a deliberate suppression of facts by ENETSUD in the name of nonpartisanship. This is in bad faith, especially with regards to the original total contract sums for surface dressing as approved and reviewed over the years, the quantum of jobs done as at May 2019 as against the amount already paid to the contractor, and the amount this administration offered to pay to upgrade the road to asphalt overlay,” according to the statement.
“It is particularly unacceptable for ENETSUD to draw up conclusions without asking necessary questions from officials concerned. Clarifications are often necessary and are in fact the decent thing to do when the image of another person is at stake.
“The Ilesha Baruba Gwanara Road Contract was awarded by the previous administration in the year 2013 at the total sum of N1,560,102,954.88 which was later reviewed upward to N2,156,953,404.58 in 2015 and to N2,361,904,549.95 in 2017.
“Two weeks to the end of the last administration, on May 15, 2019, the contract was again revised upward to N2,781,716,900.95. As at May 29, 2019, money paid to the contractor stood at N1,847,129,347.45 while money yet to be paid as per the revised sum on the project stood at N934,587,553.50. Percentage of payment made was 66.4% whereas the work done on site was 35%.
“The new administration came and noticed the discrepancy in the amount received compared to work done on site, and compelled the contractor to return to site or face legal actions. This administration said it would not accept the initial contract of paying N2,781,716,900.95 for a surface-dressed road.
“The contractor was asked to submit the cost implications to complete work to asphalt level and it came up with additional 1,056,895,118.75. This was rejected by the government and the contractor was offered only N265,412,446.50 to have the road upgraded to asphalt overlay for longer lifespan as the initial contract signed by the last administration was for surface dressing only.”
Iliasu said the decision of the administration was the best in the circumstance as termination of the contract would have led to a court case which may drag for years and a heavy monetary fine against the government on account of the terms of the contract.
“We had to weigh our options and decide what was the best for the state. The government stands by its decision as it was the cheapest to the state, it was the most patriotic, and it was in the best interest of our people who have long been cut off from the rest of the state as a result of the road,” the statement added.