23 November 2017

Nigeria: After Receiving Full N17 Billion for Water Project, Firm Seeks Additional N32 Billion

A project verification team from the Fiscal Responsibility Commission has accused SCC Nigeria Ltd, handlers of the N17.1 billion Otukpo Multipurpose Dam Project in Benue, of abandoning work after receiving full payment.

Samson Eletuo, the Team Leader, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Otukpo that less than 35 per cent of the job had been done.

"The handlers have received 100 per cent payment. The contract sum was N17.1 billion. That has been paid, but the work is barely 35 per cent," Mr. Eletuo said.

Mr. Eletuo, Deputy Director (Finance) of the commission, said that the N17 billion was paid to the construction firm three years ago.

He expressed surprise at the level of work at the site, saying that the commission would take further steps to ascertain what happened.

NAN reports that the project, which was awarded for N17.1 billion in 2010, took off in March 2011 and was to be completed within 36 months.

The dam was expected to provide a 130-million cubic meters reservoir and a 3.3 KV hydro power plant for effective water supply upon completion.

Charles Abana, Deputy Team Leader of the verification team, who also spoke with NAN, suggested a careful review of the contract to provide potable water supply and electricity to the immediate community.

"In the initial contract agreement, hydro power, portable water supply, irrigation and the construction of the dam were included in the project.

"But hydro power and water supply have been removed from the specification, yet the handlers say they are asking for additional N32 billion in a review.

"For such a massive review to be done, what is already on the ground should justify the money earlier collected.

"Our major concern is that government should get the value of money spent on projects across the country. We do not seem to have such value on this particular job," he said.

Sabastine Oteba, SCC Resident Engineer, however said that the company had already requested a contract review to N49 billion "to overcome technical issues".

"The N32 billion increment has become necessary because the cost of items has gone up.

"The hydro power aspect of the project has been removed, but we had agreed that the project foundation should be six metres. We have taken it to 11 meters," he said.

He said that the project would involve 2000 hectares of land for irrigation, 13 kilometres road, in addition to the dam.

Mr. Oteba said that the handlers abandoned the job three years ago, after spending more than the N17.1 paid to them.

"The company has a certificate of N9 billion that is yet to be paid. The money was incurred after the N17.1 billion was used up," he said.

He explained that the review was done by experts in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources.

(NAN)

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