The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Nebolisa Anako, is under probe of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts over alleged payment of N460million to contractors for uncompleted projects in Ekiti State.
The payment marks 100 percent payment of the contracts sum for the project which till date is still below 70% completion which was captured in the reports of the Auditor General of the Federation, AuGF’s submitted to the Senate.
Consequent upon this, the Chairman of the Senate Committee, Senator Mathew Urhoghide (PDP Edo South) queried the permanent secretary.
The query reads: “A constituency project contract amounting to N51 million for the construction of roads, parking lots, drainage at Ureje Dam in Ado Ekiti showed various part of the contract totaling N25.5 million were paid for but not executed.
“The ministry should ensure the contractor either completed the work or refund the money collected and forward the recovery particulars for audit verification.”
But, the permanent secretary in his written response said, “the contractor has completed 60 percent and promised to hand over the projects on or before 30th June 2017 to the minis vide the minutes of the meeting held with the contractors handling the contracts on the 20th April.”
However, the contractor is yet to complete the project as at the time the permanent secretary of the ministry appeared before the committee on Tuesday, December, 09 2020.
Chairman of the committee expressed dissatisfaction with the way the contract was handled by the ministry and ordered the permanent secretary to go and get the contractor to complete the project .
His words “he was paid, he did not do half of the job. Go and get him to complete that job until this man does this job, you will never have respite, whether it is constituency project or not is irrelevant.”
Also in another query which reads, “A visit to a contract amounting to N132 million for construction of Ureje Dam waterfront scheme in Ado-Ekiti of Ekiti State revealed that some parts of the contract amounting to N5 million were paid for but the project not completed.
“A visit to a contract amounting to N138 million for the construction of event centre/resturant at Ureje Dam waterfront scheme in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State which was fully paid showed that the contract was not completed.
“The ministry should cause the contractor to complete the contract valued at N19million were paid for but not executed.”
The permanent secretary however was unable to convince the committee that the contract was completed and the lawmakers sustained the query.
In another query, the Senate queried the ministry’s payment of N17million for another uncompleted project for the construction of fence at Exekuna cultural museum in Nchi-Onu, Amuzu Ezza Local Government in Ebonyi State.
The committee said, “The contract amounting to N6million was not constructed. As a result some parts of the fence were also broken in the site.
“Audit inspection visit to a contract amounting to N122million for construction of fence, gate House at Ureje Dam waterfront scheme in Ado Ekiti of Ekiti State, revealed that painting and external electrical works being part of the contract were not completed.
“The ministry should cause the contractor to complete the work or refund the appropriate amount involved.”
By: Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi
FG Sets Up To Recover Illegally Refined Crude Oil
In a bid to block revenue leakages, the Federal Government, yesterday, inaugurated an Inter-Ministerial Committee to tackle illegal refining of crude oil in the Niger Delta region of the country.
Members of the committee, who took their oath at the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, were drawn from the Ministry of Defence, the Nigerian Army, the Navy, Defence Headquarters, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), as well as from the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Environment, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).
The Solicitor-General of the Federation (SGF), and Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Umar Mohammed, who represented the AGF at the event, said the major mandate of the committee, was “the recovery of illegally refined petroleum products (crude oil) in the dug-up pits found around the creeks of the Niger Delta”.
According to the SGF, “In line with the policy of the current administration on security and economy, as well as the preservation of the environment from negative hazards.
“The office of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, in collaboration with all stakeholders, have put in place a mechanism for effective and efficient management of illegally refined products recovered from dug-up pits found around the creeks of the Niger Delta.
“This mechanism was agreed by the relevant stakeholders and submitted to the Attorney-General of the Federation, who considered and approved the establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the purpose of implementing the Mechanism known as Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) For the Recovery of Illegally Refined Petroleum Products (Crude Oil) in the Dug-Up Pit found around the creeks of the Niger Delta”.
The SGF said the Federal Ministry of Justice would coordinate the process and the Secretariat of the Inter-Ministerial Committee.
“The responsibility of the Inter-Ministerial Committee is to detect, report, evacuate, assess and ensure transparent disposal of the product with due consideration to the environment.
“The Inter-Ministerial Committee shall be guided by the SOP, developed for the project.
“The content of the SOP is drawn from the provision of the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations 2019.
“It is my hope that the proceeds from this exercise will be a source of additional revenue for the country”, the SGF added.
FRSC Threatens Sanction Against Fleet Operators Over Speed Limit
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says it will sanction any fleet operator found sabotaging the implementation of the Speed Limit Device.
Corps Marshal Boboye Oyeyemi said this during the 2021 annual safety managers retreat yesterday in Abuja.
The retreat aimed at sensitising safety managers on the implementation of the Road Transport Safety Standardisation Scheme to attain best practices in fleet operations.
The theme of the retreat is: “Assessment of Speed Limit Device Implementation in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges”.
Oyeyemi, represented by Deputy Corps Marshal, Motor Vehicle operations, Mr Hyginus Foumsuk, said that the corps would also sanction Speed Limit Device vendors identified for complicity.
The corps marshal expressed concern on the spate of road accidents and needless loss of lives, especially involving fleet operators.
“These, according to many experts investigations, could have been avoided if the concerned safety managers had been responsive in their duties,” he said.
Oyeyemi said that recent findings by the corps have also revealed a low level of compliance on the installation of Speed Limit Device and associated sharp practices among some fleet operators.
He noted that these practices included tampering with Speed Limit Device and connivance with vendors to deceive enforcement operatives.
This, he said, was with compliance certificates without actual installation of the device, calibration above the approved speed limits and others.
According to him, these shall no longer be tolerated as the corps will not hesitate to sanction violators henceforth.
Oyeyemi urged relevant stakeholders to address the decline on the proper vehicle maintenance as well as implementation of the passenger manifest by fleet operators and the drivers’ recruitment policy.
“We all know the essence of the passenger manifest and the significance of its proper implementation. You are therefore urged to take these issues seriously in the interest of safety.
“Passenger manifest is considered pivotal, thus its enforcement should continue along other traffic offences to compel the needed compliance. It is therefore pertinent that strict adherence to the existing policies be sustained,” he said.
“There is need for fleet operators to introduce improved practices to ensure the safety and comfort of their passengers in compliance with traffic regulations.
The Director-General, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Mr Babatunde Irukera, commended the efforts of the corps on road safety.
Irukera noted that injury and fatality on the road were caused by speed, describing speed as a catalyst, aggravator and mitigator.
He urged motorists to take cognisance look into installing Speed Limit Device to avoid road traffic crashes and save lives and property.
He, however, assured FRSC of the commission’s support to punish violators, saying that excessive speed attracts a penalty.
Sokoto Assembly Approves 2021 Virement Request Of N155m
The Sokoto State House of Assembly yesterday approved Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s request of N155 million virement warrant on some capital projects in 2021 approved budget.
This approval followed the consideration of a letter by the state governor presented at the plenary by the Speaker, Alhaji Aminu Achida.
Alhaji Bello Ambarura, the All Progressives Congress (APC) leader in the assembly, had moved a motion asking the lawmakers to consider the request at its plenary session.
Ambarura said that the request was necessitated by the present administration’s commitment to addressing a number of developmental projects.
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