By Salim Abdulmajeed
A report by the civil society organization, the Elite Network for Sustainable Development (ENetSuD) indicated that the Kwara State government, through the Ministry of Energy, has failed to ensure delivery of a contract funded by taxpayers’ money after 14 months of payment by the Government.
The NGO, based in Kwara, confirmed this in a statement on Thursday in Ilorin, signed by its Press Secretary, Saeed Tijjani.
According to the report, the Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq had, following the Ministry’s request, approved the sum of ₦197,512,500 on 11th May, 2021 as the contract sum.
The contract, which was awarded on 24th May, 2021, was for the supply of 35 Beltransfo transformers of various capacities through Direct Purchase, which was awarded to Best International Energy Services Ltd.
The contractor accepted the contract offer on 26th May, 2021, which was actually delivered and received by the Ministry of Energy on 2nd June, 2021.
However, a payment voucher dated 28th May, 2021 was used to pay the contractor a total sum of ₦138,258,750, which represents 70% advance payment (mobilization fee) to the contractor.
ENetSuD noted that the letter authorizing the release of the payment to the contractor with ref. no. F.113/S.62/T/442 (dated 20th May, 2021) was written even before the contract was awarded to the contractor (dated 24th May, 2021) and also before the Ministry received the acceptance of offer from the contractor (2nd June, 2021), suggesting a lack of due process and a possible procurement malpractice contrary to the state Procurement Law.
In the contract agreement dated 2nd June, 2021 and signed by the Ministry and the contractor, the contractor was expected to deliver the transformers within three (3) weeks from the date the agreement was signed.
In order to give a fair hearing to the Ministry and get an update on the project, ENetSuD wrote to the Commissioner of Energy on 20th May, 2022 to provide update on the status of the contract, among others.
The Commissioner, who admitted in his reply that the contractor was yet to deliver the transformers as at 23rd May, 2022, gave an assurance that the transformers would be delivered on or before 31st May, 2022.
ENetSuD, having waited beyond the date provided by the Commissioner, is left with no option than to report that the transformer project awarded by KWSG to Best International Energy Services Ltd is yet to be delivered after 14 months.
The KWSG’s failure to follow and monitor the timely delivery of project contracts awarded with taxpayers’ money is of serious concern to ENetSuD, as we are known to be following Kwara money to ensure that public money works for the people of Kwara state.