Uguru Usani
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Uguru Usani

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Usani Uguru, on Wednesday 31 May 2017 stated that the Federal Government has uncovered some shamble deals by some of the employed contractors that handled some major projects worth over N423bn had been expended in the oil region Niger Delta between 2009 and 2015 as fraud.

It was disclosed that the ghost contractors path away with the money paid to them by the past government under the late Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan without appearing on the sites of the projects, some others managed to implement 12 per cent of the projects they were paid for without 100% completion of the project.

“From this amount, projects execution rate has been at 12 per cent with an average completion rate of a project standing at five years. The impact rate is eight per cent,” he said.

“With this, it means all those who have accessed government resources for one purpose or another must be compelled to make adequate use of same, otherwise they will face the recommendation that goes with such violations.

“That is our position concerning that report and we have received council’s approval for that.

“Sixty per cent cost has been paid out to contractors with 12 per cent completion rate. Sixty per cent of the amount of money appropriated which is N700bn, 60 per cent of that constitutes N423bn.

“To find that such money has been spent in that region with the kind of work we see, shows that there is something tangibly and obviously wrong with how procurement had been carried out in the ministry.

“The number of projects awarded was 427 and there is no uniform action by each of the contractors. So, the measure of action to be taken to address the shortfall of our expectations or commitment to contractual agreements will be the determinant of what will be done.

“Those that require sanctions will be sanctioned. The sanctions may not be uniform. It will be according to the measure of liabilities hold by each of the contractors.

“Some will be compelled to return to site. Some, of course, should be made to refund money, those who we have seen by their actions displaying criminal intent by collecting money and not appearing at sites at all.

“The report is not just all about punishing people. There are also those who have performed well and are commended and the report recommended that they should be encouraged to carry on in their contractual commitments.

“The report has also recommended that sanction will be taken against officers. There are rules. I don’t know if they will amount to purge.”

This disclosure was made at the end of the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) under the presiding Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo in Aso Rock, at the Presidential Villa, FCT, Abuja.

The minister prayed the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval to petition the contractors to the relevant government agencies in charge of recovering government assets that were misappropriated, misused or found to be idling in some quarters.

The Minister further prayed that all the defaulters deserved to be sanctions so that other contracting firms would be compelled to fulfill their obligation to a contract.