LAGOS – The Minister of Power, Works and Housing Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN, has promised to expose alleged contractors who collected money for electricity projects in the country, but failed to execute them.
His pledge was contained in a letter written to Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) pledging to “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.”
Fashola’s latest response followed his letter to SERAP where he told the group that his personnel had searched the Ministry’s record, adding that the information they applied for is not held by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing (Power Sector).”
However, SERAP disagreed with the Minister’s response, saying the FOI Act should always be used as an authority for disclosing information rather than withholding it.”
Replying to SERAP, Fashola said: “The Ministry’s letter to your organisation was not an attempt to deny the request for information. The Ministry is committed to compliance with the Laws of Nigeria including the Freedom of Information Act, 2011. The Ministry will refer your request to its agencies for necessary action and appropriate response.”
Fashola’s letter signed on his behalf by Louis O.N. Edozien, Permanent Secretary (Power) reads: “I write to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated 8th February 2019 which is in response to the Ministry’s letter dated January 2019.
“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.
“But the Ministry does not have a record of any contractors that collected 100% payment and failed to execute a contract.
“The Ministry’s procurement and contract administration processes are strictly guided by relevant regulations that require the Ministry to ensure Advanced Payment is limited to 15% of the contract sum and is backed by an Advanced Payment Bank Guarantee (APG).
“Our regulations also require the Ministry to release any APG only after recovery of commensurate value of contracted materials and services from the contractors who provided the APG. We make payments only upon certification of receipt of commensurate value for materials and services from the contractor.”