Fashola provides details of alleged corrupt contractors

Fashola provides details of alleged corrupt contractors

- The names of contractors that allegedly collected money for electricity projects but failed to execute any projects has been disclosed by Fashola

- Pow Technologies Limited was listed as one of the culprits

- The company was in 2014 awarded a contract for the supply and installation of test and maintenance equipment relays

Babatunde Fashola, minister of power, works and housing, has provided some details regarding the names of contractors that allegedly collected money for electricity projects but failed to execute any projects.

This was contained in documents from some of the ministry’s agencies, forwarded to the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) by Fashola. The minister invited SERAP to “inspect a compendium of verified and paid/outstanding liabilities of contractors, kept at the offices of the Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Limited/GTE.”

This development was disclosed Sunday, May 5, in a statement by SERAP deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, Premium Times reports.

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The ministry’s letter with reference number FMP/LU/R2K/2016/T/40 and signed on Fashola’s behalf by the permanent secretary (Power), Louis Edozien, was sent to SERAP last week.

According to the letter, “Pow Technologies Limited, an Abuja based company, was in 2014 awarded a contract for the supply and installation of test and maintenance equipment relays, etc to various NAPTIN regional training centers (RTCs) (LOT15), with the total contract sum of N87,763,302.40, out of which N79,404,892.66 was paid to Pow Technologies Limited.”

The ministry’s letter further revealed that although the contract was awarded in 2014, only 13 of the 19 items have so far been supplied, with 6 items outstanding. However, details of the 6 outstanding items were not provided by the ministry.

The letter, however, indicates some of the action the ministry said it has taken to ensure: “completion of the project, address criminal breach of contract and take remedial action.”

The ministry said that while the contractors undertook to take remedial action, they have failed to complete the project for which funds have been released. The ministry noted that it submitted a petition to the commissioner of police, Abuja on January 13, 2016, and that the police instituted a case for the prosecution of Messrs Pow at the upper area court.

The ministry also said it has sought and received legal advice to pursue a civil action at the FCT high court while a report of criminal breach of contract has been made to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In response, SERAP welcomed Fashola’s latest response and the information regarding Pow Technologies Limited. The organisation, however, asked for details of names of other contractors that have collected public funds yet failed to execute power projects.

"We will continue to push the ministry and its agencies to reveal more details of alleged corrupt contractors and companies, as contained in our FOI request. We will continue to pursue our FOI suit at the Federal High Court, Lagos, before Justice Chuka Austine Obiozor, a Professor of Law, who has granted an order for leave in the case," SERAP added.

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Fashola’s latest letter to SERAP reads in part: “I write with respect to the Ministry’s letter regarding details of alleged corrupt contractors and to forward the attached responses from some of the ministry’s agencies namely: National Bulk Electricity Trading Plc; National Power Training Institute of Nigeria and Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Limited/GTE for your information.”

Recall that Fashola had earlier said in response to SERAP’s FOI request that the ministry could not get the names of people who were alleged to have looted funds meant for the power sector.

SERAP had disagreed with the response, saying the the FOI Act prescribes that government information, when in the hands of any public institutions and agencies, should be available to the public. "The FOI Act should always be used as an authority for disclosing information rather than withholding it," it added.

In a follow-up letter dated March 4, 2019, to SERAP’s reaction, Fashola promised to: “refer the request for details of alleged contractors and companies that collected money for electricity projects and failed to executive any projects to the ministry’s agencies for necessary action and appropriate response. There may be instances of part-payment against certification of commensurate value for materials and services in achieved contract milestone even though the entire contract is not 100% performed.”

Recall that in January, SERAP issued a freedom of information request and sued Fashola, following allegations by former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, that “contractors who were paid 100 percent upfront, for power projects, disappeared with public funds without carrying out any work".

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The suit with number FHC/L/CS/105/19 filed in February at the Federal High Court, Lagos, is seeking “an order of mandamus directing and/or compelling Fashola to provide specific details on the names and whereabouts of the contractors who collected public funds meant for electricity projects but disappeared with the money without executing any projects.”

The Federal High Court in Lagos in its ruling gave SERAP approval in its suit seeking an order for leave to apply for an order of mandamus compelling Fashola to disclose the names of contractors, who allegedly collected money for electricity projects but failed to execute any.

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