• Calls for better Govt-CSO communication
Elite Network for Sustainable Development (ENetSuD) on Monday cleared Kwara State Government of alleged contract inflation of ₦751,551,647.22 on the Ilesha Baruba- Gwanara Road in Baruten Local Government Area of the state.
In a statement on Monday, the group said the clarifications put to bed the controversy over the project, commending the government’s effort in investigating and upholding accountability in the contract process.
The allegation of inflation had earlier been made through a memo written by ENetSuD to the Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, on 10th November, 2020.
However, the Ministry of Works and Transport denied ENetSuD’s allegation of inflation through an official press release by the Commissioner, Hon. Rotimi Iliasu, which was also followed by denials on various radio stations.
In a letter to the organisation, KWSG explained that investigations revealed that the organisation was given a wrong BEME by some officials who have since been punished.
“As an administration committed to deepening transparency and accountability, the Governor immediately ordered discreet investigations into the matter with a view of unraveling the truth in the interest of the public,” ENETSUD quoted the government as saying in the letter to it.
“Guided by the May 26, 2021 expert opinion of the consultant who provided the updated BEME with which they are executing the contract, the two panels have established that the ‘Harmonized BEME’ given to you [ENetSuD] was indeed incorrect and full of errors,” Governor’s Focal Person on Social Audit and Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring and Evaluation, Mr. Mohammed Oyawoye.
ENetSuD said it was satisfied with the various administrative steps taken by the government to address the issues previously raised.
The organisation also stated that it has been provided with the new Bill of Engineering Measurement and Evaluation (BEME) which have been re-calculated and found to be correct.
“Similarly, as a show of good faith that this organization has nothing against the government, ENetSuD would like to inform the public that the new BEME lays to rest any previous allegations of contract inflation in the BEME for Ilesha Baruba – Gwanara Road in Baruten Local Government Area of Kwara State, statement by the Press Secretary of the Organisation Saeed Tijani read.
“ENetSuD has resolved that the new BEME provided by the KWSG (which supersedes the faulty one earlier provided in error) will be used to do a technical evaluation of the project when it is completed, as the government reported the current status of the project as 71%.”
While calling for confidence-building between the government and CSO in fighting corruption, ENetSuD said timely communication is key to avoiding underplaying the government’s commitment to accountability and probity in the system.