The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), has called the Nigerian government to direct the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the alleged messy financial books of the a river basin.
An audit report by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation, AUGF is indicting the Ogun- Osun River Basin Development Authority (OORBDA) on alleged mismanagement of about N1.3 billion.
In a petition sent to the Acting Chairman of the anti-corruption agency signed by CACOL Executive Chairman Debo Adeniran, they are arguing that this is a classic example of how much damage corruption and mismanagement of scarce resources have caused us as a nation.
Adeniran averred that it is hard to imagine that a body that was set up to, inter alia, performs functions as the following: –
· To undertake comprehensive development of both surface and underground water resources for multi-purpose use; with particular emphasis on provision of irrigation infrastructures and the control of floods and erosion and for watershed management
· To construct, operate and maintain dams, dykes, polders, wells, boreholes, irrigation and drainage systems and other works necessary for the achievement of the Authority’s functions and hand-over all land to be cultivated under irrigation schemes to farmers
· To supply water from the Authority’s completed storage schemes to all users for a fee to be determined by the Authority concerned, with the approval of the Honourable Minister
· To construct, operate and maintain infrastructural services such as roads and bridges linking project sites, provided that such infrastructural services are included in and form integral parts of the lists of approved projects
· To develop and keep up-to-date comprehensive water resources master plan, etc has not been able to record much of achievements in most of its objectives.
“We now know why despite huge monies allocated, much has not been recorded in terms of the set-objectives as most homes in Ogun State where the Agency is sited, lack potable water, good roads, and other infrastructural facilities that could yield farmers greater dividends on farm produce and avail the nation the opportunity inherent in harvesting Water revolution for technological purposes.
“According to the 2016 report, which is the latest, most of the budgeted funds were siphoned through ghost contracts, overpayment of mobilization fees, poorly executed/abandoned projects, payment of contractors for work that was either shoddily done or not completed, un-prized provision in Bill of Quantity, BQ, haphazard spending of public funds on poorly executed projects while leaving others to lay in ruins in flagrant abuse of Fiscal Responsibility Act.
“For purpose of clarity, let us examine only two instances of such flagrant disregard for accountability and openness; a contract for the construction of water supply structures at Agbado-Isoye in Ogun state was awarded for N565mn in 2008, the Auditor’s visit to the site revealed that the project has been abandoned despite N404mn payment for 71 percent of work done while the projects status report of OORBDA revealed only 52 percent of work value at N294mn was actually done. The Contractor was reportedly overpaid N111mn. The Managing Director was, however, requested to recover and refund to treasury, the sum of N111mn outrageously overpaid on the abandoned project.’
“The other contract was the construction of an earth dam at Ilobi-Irinja, Ogun state, that was awarded for N293mn and the Contractor was paid a mobilization fee of N44mn, upfront. According to the AUGF report, it was discovered that the project was site was only handed over to the contractor four years after contract award. It was also discovered that despite the payment, the contractor did not mobilize to site and also failed to refund the mobilization fee. The project has since been abandoned.
“We therefore call for the EFCC’s intervention in probing all these financial infractions and economic impunity within this vital Agency to arrest the drift, recover the funds mismanaged or pocketed while culprits should be made to face the full wrath of the law to serve as deterrence.”