The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing has set aside N100m in the 2021 budget for the rehabilitation of the Ife-Ifewara Road which had been fixed by the Pastor Enoch Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG.
The road rehabilitation was part of the church’s Social Corporate Responsibility at the cost of N188,440,342.00.
As a result of this, the Senate is currently probing the Ministry of Works and Housing for paying N145m to a construction firm, Cartil Construction Nigeria Limited, as a reimbursement for the road.
The matter is currently being handled by the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, following a petition written to the panel by the church, Punch is reporting.
However a copy of the Ministry of Works and Housing’s 2021 budget, shows that the ministry allocated yet another N100m as payment to the contractors for the rehabilitation of the Ife-Ifewara Road.
The chairman of the Senate panel handling the case, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, said the officials of the RCCG, those of the Ministry of Works and Housing, and management of the construction firm had been asked to appear before the committee on Thursday, April 15.
A senior official of the RCCG, Pastor Niyi Adebanjo, had in a petition submitted to the Senate alleged that the Ministry of Works and Housing officials paid N151m to the management of Cartil Construction Nigeria Limited as part payment for the road project awarded to it but abandoned.
Adebanjo submitted the petition on behalf of Adeboye while the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, referred the document to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.
The petition was laid by the Chairman of the Committee on behalf of Lawan, on Tuesday, February 9, 2021.
The RCCG, in the petition, alleged that the construction firm claimed the sum of N151,508,901.22 as reimbursement for the rehabilitation of the Ife-Ifewara Road in Osun State which the church constructed.
An official at Cartil Construction Nigeria Limited, Olalekan Jimoh, was put on oath to address the panel on behalf of the managing director, who Jimoh claimed could not speak the English language.
“Cartil Construction Limited was duly given an award letter and the description of works to be done,” he said.
Jimoh said the staff of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing in Abuja and those in Osun State were constantly supervising the project which is still ongoing.
“Up until March 2020, there were communications between us and the Federal Government,” Jimoh said.
He, therefore, urged the Senate committee to summon officials of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing for questioning so as to correct the impression that the firm fraudulently collected money for projects it did not execute.
However, a member of the Senate panel, who is the Senator representing the area under reference, Francis Fadahunsi, faulted the submissions of the construction company.
He said, “I visited the road personally and I complained to the Minister of Works and Housing (Babatunde Fashola) and told him that the road was abandoned due to the sickness of the managing director of the construction company.
“The minister then promised that another contractor would take over the project because the road had been abandoned. It was when armed robbers capitalised on the poor state of the road that Pastor Adeboye came to the aid of the people.”
Ruling on the matter, the Senate committee chairman, Akinyelure, directed the secretariat to write the directors and supervising engineers in charge of the project to appear before the panel.
He said, “The engineers from the Ministry of Works and Housing should come and tell us their own side of the story. The directors of works too should be summoned. We will listen to them before we carry out the physical assessment of the road as part of our oversight functions.