The Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC), has lamented the nonchalance of federal ministries and relevant authorities in the supervision of government awarded contracts, describing it as a disservice to the nation.
Victor Muruako, FRC’s Chairman, expressed the concern at Ugboha, Essan South-East Local Government Area of Edo, after reviewing the N2.47 billion Federal Government water supply project in the area.
The chairman and some officials of the commission on a verification tour of Federal Government projects in the Niger Delta, had earlier visited the Ogwashi-Uku Multi-Purpose Earth Dam project in Delta.
He accused the ministries and the agencies of conniving with the contractors to defraud the nation by allowing the full payment for such contracts without being completed.
He said: “These problems are clear manipulations of human beings. There are lapses between the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Benin/Owena River Basin Authority.
“From what I have seen from this project verification exercise, I can say without any contradiction, that there has been near zero supervision of the projects by most supervisors.
“There are situations where things go overtly wrong and the supervisors cannot raise alarm and have issues with the contractors. They are obviously working with the contractors.
“In this case, they have allowed the full payment of the contract sum of N2.47 billion. The contractor has also been allowed to collect the retention for the contract while the water scheme is not functioning.
At Ogwashi-Uku, he expressed displeasure that the N3.6 billion multipurpose dam was not near completion even when the contractor, Nelson Benjamin Ltd. had been paid N3.3 billion.
Muruako said it was disheartening that the hydro power component of the project had not started, while the drainage system of the three kilometre access road to the dam was a sham.
He expressed disappointment that the contractor was not on site to explain issues even when he was duly informed about the visit.
He called on the Edo and Delta governments to show interest in the projects because they were for the benefit of the people of the states.
“I want governments of Delta, Edo and indeed other states in the federation to take special interest in the projects located in their areas.
“These projects are ultimately the property of the state governments, local governments and indeed the communities where they are located.
“I don’t see that attitude here and I condemn it totally. People are lackadaisical about such projects.
“The contractors should be called to account for all these. Government knows what to do in this case and we will do our own report and submit to Mr President,” he added.
The Project Engineer of the Essan water scheme, Mr Etim Akakam, however, said that the project was awarded to the contractor, CGC Nig. Ltd. in 2005 and was completed in 2011.
According to him, the water scheme was not inaugurated on completion because of misunderstanding among the people of the area.
At Ogwashi-Uku, Mr Ben Obi, the Resident Engineer of the Consultant, Vibro Engineering Company, conducted the team round the dam project.