Road projects were abandoned when Makinde assumed office —Probe panel
Most contractors handling road projects awarded by the former Governor Abiola Ajimobi-led administration had abandoned project sites at the inception of the current government and made new demands for more funds from the current Governor Seyi Makinde-led administration, Chairman, Oyo State committee on review of contracts and projects, Mr Damola Falade-Fatila has disclosed.
Makinde had on July 29 inaugurated a 10-man committee headed by Falade-Fatila to review contracts and projects awarded by the state government between 2017 and 2019.
Speaking with Saturday Tribune on the committee’s progress on the assignment, Falade-Fatila also pointed out that most contractors, despite being paid 30 per cent mobilisation fee and interim certificates did not carry out expected work on the various sites.
He added that further observations included that some contractors appeared overwhelmed, giving instance of a contactor, who was awarded about three and four road projects.
According to him, many contractors cited inadequate funds and inability to access the advance payment by government to their banks as reasons for delay and hitherto abandonment of project sites.
Upon the inauguration of the committee, Falade-Fatila however, noted that many of the contractors had returned to their various project sites to continue work.
While noting that the committee continued its inspection of project sites across the state, it is expected that the committee will, in its recommendations to the governor, detail which projects should be terminated, sustained or adjusted.
“So far, our observations on road projects generally is that before this committee was set up, the contractors had abandoned most of these project sites. Even those that were still on site as at that time, that is about two months ago, were just there nominally, to mark attendance, not because any serious activities were going on.
“When the governor set up this committee, we realised that contractors started returning to site. In our review processes so far, we realised that the status of those projects was not commensurate with the funds the former administration had released.”
“Quite shockingly and embarrassingly, the contractors were still placing demands on the new government for more funds vis-à-vis interim certificates when hitherto they had not matched the funds that had been released
He said this was “after taking representations from Ministry of Works and Transport and other relevant departments and agencies of government, and the contractors themselves to know exactly the issue was with them.
“Most of them were substantially paid the 30 percent mobilisation fee while some of them had not fully accessed the mobilisation fund from government.
“Some had even collected second and third interim certificate beyond the 30 percent mobilisation. By and large, the level of work on site is not commensurate with the money they had taken.
“Some of them cited funds as their reason for delay, some said it was because they didn’t get their advance payment from the banks in time.
Some of them didn’t fully access the advance payment by government to their banks. Most of those excuses look flimsy.
“There are a couple of them who appear to have been overwhelmed. There is a case of a contractor who had three or four ongoing projects. When government released money, he is not sure of which project the money was released for.
“In the last two weeks, we have gone around to do on-the-spot assessment to ascertain the level of seriousness and competence and we see that over 70 percent have returned to site,” Falade-Fatila said.