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Senate summons FCT minister over award of contracts in foreign currency

Monday, October 31, 2011

• Bala
Photo: Sun News Publishing

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Senate has summoned Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Administration, Senator Bala Mohammed and the Due Process Office over the award of some road contracts in Abuja in foreign currency.
Similarly, Senate may also summon the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Dikko Abdullahi, over his refusal to submit the service’s staff nominal roll showing a breakdown of its senior cadre of staff and their states of origin.

The directive was handed down to Abdullahi when the Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs Committee visited the NCS on an oversight duty last Wednesday. Abdullahi pledged to make the staff nominal roll available to the committee the following day. Sources close to the committee told Daily Sun that “the NCS was given up to close of work on Friday to submit the list.
“As at Friday evening, no list was received from the NCS. The committee has two options open to it: Summon the NCS comptroller-general or get the consent of the Senate president and issue a warrant of arrest on him.”

The FCT minister is expected to explain why 70 percent of road contracts in the Idu district of the capital territory were awarded and paid for in euros with the remaining 30 percent awarded in naira. Senator Mohammed is also expected to shed more light on why the road contract was reviewed upwards from N3.17 billion to N6.09 billion. The Senator Smart Adeyemi-led FCT committee discovered this during its oversight duties on contracts for the development of Idu Industrial District in Abuja at the weekend.

The original cost of the road project, it was learnt, was N3.176 billion or 73 million euros while the contract was revised upward to N6.093 billion or 186 millon euros and amount paid to date was N4.816 billion or 79 million euros.
The committee learnt that N1.256 billion or 107 million euros was required to complete the project with N794 million outstanding to be paid to the contractors for work done or 20 million euros.

Following revelations that officials of government colluded with foreign contractors to dupe Nigeria in the signing of contracts, the committee dropped hints that officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) would henceforth accompany it when on oversight tours.
In company of his Deputy, Senator Domingo Obende, Adeyemi queried award of the projects in foreign currency and subsequently announced at the project site that the committee would summon the FCT minister and top management of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA).

Adeyemi, who, though commended the FCT administration for the initiative for the development of the Idu industrial area, however, lamented that signing the contract in foreign currency was not justifiable. He told newsmen after the over three hours tour of the project: “We are not happy that a contract of such magnitude was signed in foreign currency. It was uneconomical, retrogressive and unpatriotic.“We shall ask the minister and his officials to come and explain why a contract worth over N1billion and which was varied to over N6 billion could be signed in foreign currency.

“Can any foreign company agree to sign contracts in their countries in naira? The action of the FCT government is not acceptable to us and we are going to report back to the Senate.“There are lots of inexplicable things which the ministry will have to explain to us. None of the contractors could justify why more than 20 percent of the materials they were using were imported to the country.

“There is no justification to import electric poles when we can produce them here. If they are not satisfied with the quality of the ones produced here, we can improve on them. And you cannot justify the variation of 70 percent of the contract sums,” Adeyemi noted.
-Sun

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Posted by on Oct 30 2011. Filed under Abuja (FCT), Latest Politics, Legislature, Senate, State News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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