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Fashola names alleged corrupt contractors

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The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN has forwarded to Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) documents from some of the Ministry’s agencies providing some level of details regarding the names of contractors that allegedly collected money for electricity projects but failed to execute any projects, and inviting 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 today in a statement by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare. The Ministry’s letter with reference number FMP/LU/R2K/2016/T/40 and signed on Mr Fashola’s behalf by the Permanent Secretary (Power) Louis O.N. Edozien, was sent to SERAP last week. The letter reveals that: “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.”

According to the Ministry’s letter, although the contract was awarded in 2014, only 13 of the 19 items have so far been supplied, with 6 items
outstanding. The details of the 6 items that Pow Technologies Limited has allegedly failed to supply are not provided by the Ministry but the
letter 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 pointed out that it submitted a petition to the Commissioner of Police, Abuja on 13th January 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).

SERAP said: “We welcome Mr Fashola’s latest response and the information regarding Pow Technologies Limited. But we need 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.”

Mr 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.”

It would be recalled that Mr Fashola had earlier said in response to SERAP’s FOI request that: “the Ministry has searched for the requested
information on details of alleged contractors and companies that collected money for electricity projects and failed to executive any
projects, but we could not find it from our records.”

However, SERAP disagreed with the response, saying: “The public expectation is that government information, when in the hands of any
public institutions and agencies, should be available to the public, as prescribed by the FOI Act. The FOI Act should always be used as an
authority for disclosing information rather than withholding it.”

Mr Fashola in a follow-up letter dated 4th March, 2019, to SERAP’s reaction 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.”

Mr Fashola’s initial response followed SERAP’s FOI request and suit number FHC/L/CS/105/19 filed in February at the Federal High Court,
Lagos. The suit is seeking “an order of mandamus directing and/or compelling Mr 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.”

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BE ACCOUNTABLE- LGs COMMITTEE CHARGED

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The elected Local Government Review Committee (LGRC) members from six selected Local Governments in Ogun State, have been advised on the need to be effective and be transparent in the discharge of their duties, for sustainable development in the State. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Community Development and Cooperatives, Mrs. Melutia Ogunremi, gave this advice during a one- day training for LGRC members, with the theme, “The Roles of LGRC in the Community Development Project (CDP) Formulation and Implementation’’, organised by the Community and Social Development Agency CSDA, at the Conference Hall, Ministry of Community Development and Cooperatives, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.

Mrs. Ogunremi, charged the elected committees saddled with the responsibilities of community development projects to effectively coordinate and execute World Bank assisted projects, adding that this would aid government’s intervention in executing more projects. According to her, “by the time the projects would be completed, the less privilege in our communities would feel the impact of good leadership”, adding that, accountability, sincerity, as well as transparency should be their watchword. On his part, the General Manager Community and Social Development Agency, Engineer Sakirudeen Salam, said the training was organised for elected committee members on their roles to facilitate and fast track the process of the proposed projects. He disclosed that, eighty participants which cut across the six selected Local governments including, Abeokuta North Local Government, Odeda Local Government, Ipokia Local Government amongst others, were duly represented.

Reacting, the Chairman, Board of Director, Community and Social Development Agency (CSDA), Pastor Oladipupo Odeyemi, disclosed that the programme had been in existence since 2009 and the State was already involved in the second phase, while striving to be among the third phase if all projects would be done with all honesty, describing the programme as a measure for poverty alleviation in any society. One of the participants at the training, Honourable Bode Kusimo commended the International agency, as well as the State government’s effort at eradicating poverty at the grassroots, pledging to ensure the success of the project, thereby assisting in the socio-economic growth of the areas.

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SANWO-OLU: “MAKING LAGOS A SMART CITY NOT A RHETORIC”

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The plan to elevate Lagos to become a smart city is not a mere political rhetoric, but an agenda that is being supported by policies that will make the goal achievable, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said.

The Governor said his administration’s commitment to reinvigorate the state’s economy and make it a smart city was reinforced by its growth potential and profile as one of the top investment destinations in Africa.

The smart city agenda, Sanwo-Olu said, is on course, stressing that his administration would achieve the goal in partnership with private sector as key driver of development.

The Governor spoke on Wednesday at the 13th Annual Business Law Conference organized by Business Law section of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), at the Eko Hotels and Suites on Victoria Island.

To achieve the aim, Sanwo-Olu said his government had identified key areas to drive growth, stating that investment in infrastructure remained prominent. 

He said: “As Africa’s most populous city, with a population larger than several countries on the continent, but confined to a space that is less than 4,000 square miles in size, Lagos is confronted by problems that exert great pressure on its infrastructure, especially our transport infrastructure and public utilities.

“Lagos urgently needs to mobilize huge investments into these critical sectors by delivering new roads and bridges, expanding air and sea ports’ capacity, exploiting the potential of our vast waterways. And, very importantly, Lagos needs to deliver an intra-city rail network. We must have a city-wide rail system that will move people and goods faster.” 

Steady electricity, Sanwo-Olu pointed out, remains critical to delivering a smart city with a flourishing economy. He observed that Lagos, like other states, still had a huge gap to fill in the area of power supply to businesses and homes.

The Governor said a sustained but strategic investment in key infrastructure would have direct positive impacts on workers’ productivity, commerce and economy.

He said: “Provision of infrastructure creates jobs for artisans, engineers and other workers who will deliver these projects, and also for the contractors who supply raw materials. And by expanding our transport and power supply capacities significantly, we will succeed in unleashing the economic productivity long-constrained by these bottlenecks.”

Sanwo-Olu said the effort required private sector partnership and investment to deliver on the objectives. He urged local and international investors to leverage the government’s Public Private Partnership (PPP) policy in facilitating collaboration, which, he promised, would be mutually beneficial.

While the Governor re-assured investors that his government would create “friendly atmosphere” for investment to thrive, he said the state had embarked on reforms in its business law to protect the interests of all parties when disputes arise in business.

He added: “By leading the way with these reforms, we are making the point that we understand the place of Lagos in the national economy, and we understand the connection between confidence in legal and regulatory systems on the one hand, and, on the other hand, a willingness by investors to invest.

“In terms of the business regulatory environment, we are fully aligned with the Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business reform agenda. I am pleased to note here that Lagos was in 2018 adjudged by the World Bank as one of the most improved states in terms of the Ease of Doing Business.”

Sanwo-Olu praised members of the NBA’s Business Law section for choosing Lagos as its choice location to discuss the objectives of the business conference.

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PhotoNews:The Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila with Chief Dennis Otuaro

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The Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila with Chief Dennis Otuaro at the reception party organized for the Speaker by the Lagos State Government at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos on Sunday, June 23, 2019.

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