Elites Network for Sustainable Development (ENetSuD), a Kwara-based Civil Society Organization, has dragged the Federal Ministry of Environment to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and ICPC Nigeria over poor execution of Abata Asunkere Flooding and Erosion Control project facilitated as 2017 Constituency project by Sen. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and executed by the Ministry.
In the petition signed by its Coordinator (Dr. Alagbonsi Abdullateef) and submitted on 30th May, 2019 to the two Anti-graft Agencies, ENetSuD stated that “Abata Asunkere community reached out to her over the project’s poor execution, leading to unhealthy living environment, loss of properties to flood, spread of diseases, and displacement of residents during rainy season. As a Kwara-based CSO, ENetSuD wrote series of Freedom of Information (FOI) letter to the Federal Ministry of Environment who executed the project to request for the financial and technical details of the project”.
Responding to ENetSuD’s letter, the Ministry provided the Bill of Engineering Measurement and Evaluation (BEME) and the Interim Payment Certificate, and further stated that the project BEME has 3 components: Preliminary and General (Bill no 1), Site Clearing/Earthworks and Rehabilitation Works (Bill no 2) and Concrete Works (Bill no 3). In addition, the project contract sum (excluding 5% VAT) as derived from the addition of the 3 components in the BEME is N90,270,625; the project was awarded to Multinet Group Ltd (52 Usuma Street, Maitama, Abuja) on the 27th December, 2017 who was paid N66,677,833 (excluding 5% VAT) by the Ministry; and the project was 74% completed”, the Ministry said.
Explaining the findings of its independent evaluation of the project, ENetSuD said that “Bills 1 and 2 are provisional and are not assessable after completion, thus our re-assessment was based on Bill 3 only (which is physically assessable on site). We found that the total money paid to the Contractor is questionable considering the work done on the project site, as our re-assessment and verification of Bill 3 disagree with the reality met on the project site”.
Furthermore, ENetSuD listed many structures that could not be found on site (contrary to the provision made in the BEME) to include: 1000 – 1500mm box culverts using concrete grade 20 at designated points along the roads, Provide; high tensile steel reinforcements (10 – 16mm) for culverts walls, floor outfall, structure inlets, outlets; Rip – Rap in 300mm boulders at the outlet structures; access slabs as cover to concrete drains, among others.
In the concluding part of the petition, ENetSuD stated that “based on the documents from the Ministry, the sub-total amount for project bills (excluding 5% VAT) is N90,270,625, which includes Bill 1 (N8,500,000), Bill 2 (N60,949,145) and Bill 3 (N20,821,480). Due to the fact that many structures provided for in Bill 3 were not found on site, and the cost we arrived at for the available structures (using the Ministry official rate) is N9,910,500; the costs of the executed projects in Bill 2 that could not be assessed are also questionable. How the contractor was paid N66,667,833 despite the non-commensurate work on the site is not understood and needs further investigation. Therefore, all the components of the BEME should be revisited in relation to the executed works on the site, as we are of the conviction that the project execution is a waste of public fund that has neither served its purpose nor added any value to the subsisting erosion and flooding in the community”
ENetSuD therefore charged the EFCC and ICPC to further investigate the poor execution of the project and publish their findings, while also requesting them to do such other things they consider necessary to ensure that Kwara money works for Kwarans.