Contractors’ death stalled N4bn communications project– FG

The Federal Government on Thursday told the House of Representatives that the death of two principal partners was responsible for the non-completion of contracts worth N4.179bn awarded for the installation of radio monitoring equipment and other services.

The Director, Radio Monitoring and Survey, Federal Ministry of Communications, Mr Kilyobas Binga, who appeared before the ad hoc committee set up to investigate abandoned projects in the communications sector, said the Federal Executive Council, on March 17, 2002, approved the contracts for the supply, installation and commissioning of the radio monitoring and national spectrum management system.

Binga said the contracts were awarded to Messrs Captel Communication Limited and Cordem Incorporated of the United States for the sum of $34,083,044,037, which he said had not been executed by the time the principal partners of the firms died.

He said while $28.4m was the actual contract sum, the cost of finance was $6.78m, bringing the total sum to $34m.

Binga said, “FEC had said the contractors should be paid 15 per cent down payment. So, the 15 per cent for the offshore component was $4.2m; 15 per cent down payment for the onshore; N41.4. N1, 177, was the total amount the contractors were  paid up to the time the project was abandoned in 2008.

“N200m was the last amount that was paid to the contractor. In the process of documentation to produce the contract agreement, the principal member of one of the partners to this project, Alhaji Dan Kabo, unfortunately died shortly after that contract was awarded.”

The director, who stated that the contract was characterised by controversies as to the ownership of the project, added, “The contractor refused to honour the agreement in Schedule Three of the contract. The ministry raised concerns that the contractors did not yield.”

Reacting to the growing spate of abandoned projects, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, described the situation as “ugly and dangerous.” He vowed to use relevant legislative mechanisms to put a stop to the practice.

Gbajabiamila, who was represented by the Chief Whip of the House, Mohammed Monguno, stated infrastructure give rise to growth and development of the economy.

He said, “It is disheartening to note that Nigeria’s infrastructure gap has been widening in recent years owing to, among other things, the abandonment and lack of completion of capital projects. “Why are projects abandoned? What are the reasons for the non-completion of projects? We need to provide answers to these and other related questions. Projects must be completed, and in record time as well.”