Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Tuesday, 29 September, 2020 directed that no further payment should be made to the contractor handling the Kwara State College of Education Road in Ilorin until the exact shortage to the public is ascertained in line with an audit report that exposed some disparities between the work done and what was approved.
He also suggested that the contractor might make refunds to the government if the variations of job done are below the balance of the amount of job said to have been left undone.
The government has yet to finish payment to the contractors.
In a zoom meeting in July with the Elite Network for Sustainable Development (ENETSUD) chief Dr Abdullateef Alagbonsi, the governor proposed social audit to enable civic groups and host communities to track government projects as part of his efforts to guarantee value for public funds. One of the projects being tracked is the College of Education Road, Ilorin.
ENETSUD Deputy Coordinator Comrade Aliu Mashood (Osho) told the governor that the audit revealed a disparity between what was contained in BEME and the actual job done with regards to the BEME contents, especially the length and the breadth of the road, amounting to N16.6m.
He said the length of the road in the BEME was 800metres while the actual length on site was 696m, although ministry officials said the exact length on site is 700 metres.
Mashood urged the government to order the contractor back to site to add an additional 1 cm to its thickness and to refund the shortfall for the job not done.
Asked to explain the disparities observed, the project manager for the contractor Dotmic Options Limited Babatunde Akorede admitted that the length in the BEME differs from what was on site.
He said however that the shortfalls were covered in some extra jobs already carried out such as 132 metres of drainage as against the 100metres in the BEME, removal of unsuitable and replacement with good lateritic materials, and plastering of the drainage.
He also said he constructed a box culvert in front of the Government Day Secondary School, Odo Ogun and the discharge drain of 250metres to Odo Ogun, which he said were not in the BEME.
The Governor however said while the contractor may have done extra work as he argued, it was clear that the discrepancies observed in the length in the BEME and the actual length on site were valid. He said the variations not contained in the BEME ought to have been brought for a separate approval.
“With what I see here the resident engineer did not do his job. You are robbing Peter to pay Paul. If the road is 800m and you find that it is 700m, the amount that is left over should be refunded. The ministry should have come to seek variation approval for additional work that you are doing. That is what transparency is. You can’t say you have excess money from here and put it there, it doesn’t work that way. That is where the issue is,” AbdulRazaq said.
He thereafter directed the ministry to measure the extra job done and determine what refunds would be made to the government as has been recommended by the civic group.