20 February 2013

Nigeria: House Probes Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway Rehabilitation Project

The House of Representatives has mandated its Committees on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and Works to investigate the road rehabilitation contracts in respect of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Highway.

The investigation into the contract was sequel to a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Hon. Bimbo Daramola (ACN/Ekiti) and unanimously adopted by his colleagues at plenary.

In 2012, FERMA awarded the contract worth N3.5 billion for the repairs of the dual carriageway linking Enugu and Rivers States.

In the lead debate, Daramola noted that the details of the contract showed the road was split in to four sections with each section awarded to different contractors, namely:

Messrs. Ferotex - Enugu- Okigwe = £4643,403,339.25; Messrs. Mothercat -Okigwe-Umuahia = £41,105,000,000.00; Messrs. Nigercat - Umuahia-km.163+500 Umuahia £4969,881,641.29; Messrs. Monatech-Km. 163+500 UmuaMa-Aba = 14796, 179,632.50.

He said President Goodluck Jonathan, had informed the nation about the award of the contract during the presentation of the 2013 budget estimates before the joint sitting of the National Assembly.

The lawmaker said while the original contract between FERMA and these contractors subsisted, the Federal Ministry of Works had to draft in Messrs SETRACO Nigeria Limited, Julius Berger Nigeria Limited and RCC Nigeria Limited on emergency intervention repairs of the same road in the run up the yuletide season due to public outcry about the slow pace of work by the initial contractors.

Daramola expressed concern that if the contractors do not improve on the tempo and quality of the work, the contract will run into a hitch once the rainy season sets in a few months from now.

He argued that the award of contract for repairs of the same road by both FERMA and its parent Ministry of Works could amount to abuse of Public Procurement Act and waste of public funds.

The House resolved that its committees on FERMA and Works should investigate the contract with a view to establishing whether the award of the contracts conforms with the provision of the Public Procurement Act and other laws regulating contract award in the public service.

The investigation is also meant to ascertain if there had been prudent use of public funds in these contracts.

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