Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: East-West Road - Senate Queries N151 Billion Hike in Contract Sum

Speaking at the commencement of a hearing on the efficiency of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) Wednesday, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Ahmed Lawan, said the first section of the project earlier awarded to Setraco Nigeria Limited for about N65 billion was later inflated to N112 billion all in the name of contract variation; while the subsections one and two of the second section, awarded for about N30billion and N45billion were later inflated to N48billion and N84 billion respectively.

He also queried why the third section of the project, awarded to Reynolds Construction Company for N36billion was inflated to over N66 billion; and the fourth section, awarded to Gitto Construction Company for N26billion, inflated to N37billion.

He also observed that third section of the road, awarded to Reynolds Construction Company for N44billion, was later reviewed to N56billion.

Responding, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Niger Delta, Bashir Mohammed, explained that "when the contract was awarded, it had no design, adding that the new design increased the contract sum; while Setraco Technical Director, Dr R. Chaudhuri cited the swampy nature of the road, saying that many other complex realities that were not in the original design were met.

Chaudhuri, who promised to provide the design papers to justify the contract review, said the N107bn was to cover the construction of both sections of the road which, according to him, is about 87km.

Also speaking, SURE-P Accounting Officer Bright Okogwu told the committee that about N8.14bn had so far been released as intervention fund for the road.

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