The Kwara State Government has replied to the query of lites Network for Sustainable Development ENetSuD over the alleged inflation of the contract sum of the Ilesha Baruba – Gwanara road by the Kwara State Ministry of Works and Transport with ₦751,551,647.22.
The allegation of inflation had been made through a memo written by ENetSuD to the Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, on 10th November 2020.
However, the Ministry denied ENetSuD’s allegation of inflation through an official press release by the Commissioner, Hon. Rotimi Iliasu, which was also followed by denials on various radio stations.
In an official communication to ENetSuD by the Governor’s Focal Person on Social Audit and Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring and Evaluation, the government explained to ENetSuD the various administrative steps so far taken since the allegation was raised.
Meanwhile, the State government admitted that the Bill of Engineering Measurement and Evaluation (BEME) provided to ENetSuD was indeed faulty, and has now provided a new BEME that has been re-calculated and found to be correct by ENetSuD.
In a statement sent to ENetSuD by the Governor’s SSA:
“As an administration committed to deepening transparency and accountability, the Governor immediately ordered discreet investigations into the matter with a view of unravelling the truth in the interest of the public.
“These investigations involved two different panels: an intra-ministerial panel in line with the civil service rules and another one chaired by His Excellency, the Deputy Governor Mr. Kayode Alabi.
“The investigations involved an invitation to Sanisi Partnership Ltd, the consulting firm for the Ilesha Baruba – Gwanara road project since 2013, who was asked to give accounts of the contract to determine the veracity of the issues raised by your organization [ENetSuD].
“Guided by the May 26, 2021 expert opinion of the consultant who provided the updated BEME with which they are executing the contract, the two panels have established that the ‘Harmonized BEME’ given to you [ENetSuD] was indeed incorrect and full of errors.
“We concede that the misconception in public about this issue was clearly borne out of costly errors and lack of due diligence by some officials of the Ministry of Works and Transport.
“It is important to inform you [ENetSuD] that a final memo on the issue dated April 12, 2022, has recommended appropriate measures to be taken concerning the civil engineering staffers involved in the preparation of the faulty BEME.
“Among others, the costly development, as you [ENetSuD] may be aware, has also since led to immediate retooling of the due diligence mechanisms of not just the Ministry of Works and Transport but other Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of Kwara State Government to prevent such flops in the future”, the government explained.
While reacting to the latest development, the ENetSuD Coordinator (Dr. Alagbonsi Abdullateef) decried the late response from the Government that came after 18 months of the allegation even though the steps taken so far by the government are satisfactory to the organization and need to be commended.
He added that a lack of timely communication from the Government to its partner in the Social Audit of projects will not help the government in its anti-corruption fight, as corruption can’t be fought in silence.
He, therefore, called on the government to carry the organisation along and endeavour to keep it informed of any ongoing steps related to allegations it made on government projects and spending to avoid a situation where the group would assume that the government is doing nothing to address various allegations related to the projects.
Dr Abdullateef concluded that confidence-building is key to the success of any partnership in the public interest.
However, ENetSuD has resolved that the new BEME provided by the KWSG (which supersedes the faulty one earlier provided in error) will be used to do a technical evaluation of the project when it is completed, as the government reported the current status of the project as 71%.
Dr Abdullateef said the new BEME will end the allegation of contract inflation on Gwanara road and is also satisfied with Government explanation.
Similarly, as a show of good faith that this organization has nothing against the government, ENetSuD would like to inform the public that the new BEME lays to rest any previous allegations of contract inflation in the BEME for Ilesha Baruba – Gwanara Road in Baruten Local Government Area of Kwara State.