By Abdulrasheed Akogun
The Kwara State Government have secretly withdrawn the #2.2b Tanke flyover bridge contract, awarded to J.M.K Construction Company, Fresh Insight investigation has revealed.
It would be recalled the State government had via its press release dated November 2, 2021 announced the award of the contract to J.M.K Construction, a sister company of the famed Bulletin Construction Company at the total sum of #2,227,899,200:00 with 12 months completion date.
Fresh Insight however confirmed that the contract was withdrawn from J.M.K and re-awarded to City International Dimensions Construction Ltd at the rate of #2,410,338,700:00, an upward variation of #182,439,500 with completion date now 14 months, two months longer than the earlier announced completion date of 12 months.
Speaking with this medium on condition of anonymity, a top ranking government source said “The contract had to be withdrawn owing to the huge damage the Fresh Insight publication did to the government, it created doubt in the minds of all, especially development partners and it was just politically expedient that the contract be reawarded to another contractor, at least to restore public confidence in the bridge.
Speaking further on how the contract was revoked, the source said “A virtual council meeting was summoned and held in December, 2021.
“The Council meeting which lasted 2 hours ended at exactly 7:12pm, the memo that relayed the revocation of the contract was however not availed all cabinet members including the Secretary to the Government of the State, who pointedly complained about the development and ruled that the proposal should be presented at the next Council meeting, insisting that it wasn’t listed as one of the issues for discussion, adding that an issue as sensitive as contract revocation and reaward can’t come under AOB.
“The Commissioner for Works – Rotimi Iliasu however insisted it is of utmost importance to be discussed and the Governor, who chaired the meeting had to wade in to safe the day, by giving the go ahead to present the paper”, he added
Fresh Insight checks revealed that traditionally, all memos to be presented at the State Executive Council meeting must be submitted to the secretariat and availed all cabinet members, at least 48 hours before the SEC meeting, a rule flouted for unknown reasons in the case of Tanke flyover revocation.
While presenting the memo seeking to revoke the contract from JMK Construction Company, the Commissioner for Works – Engr. Rotimi Ilyasu gave excuse of demand for variation by JMK Construction Company which intends to take the contract sum to #2.9b.
Investigation by Fresh Insight confirmed that the Construction Company already got contract award papers, signed contract documents and completed all paper works without the request of any variation, contrary to the Commissioners submission at the council meeting.
A top government source in the know, who confided in Fresh Insight said “J.M.K Construction Company never requested for upward review of the contract, the contract was withdrawn because of Fresh Insight’s report.”
KHADIJATOU BA’s INVOLVEMENT
2 years after the official denial of the existence of any appointee of the Governor known as KHADIJATOU BA, she has continued to act in official capacity and being at the Centre of several far reaching decisions of the government.
Investigation by Fresh Insight revealed that at the Centre of the contract award and revocation is Khadijatou Ba, Gov. AbdulRazaq’s Senegalese appointee, who serves as Adviser on Economic Development Matters to the Governor.
Multiple sources confirmed that the Abuja based Economic Adviser, whose appointment was a major controversy almost 2 years ago, which the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye vehemently denied, stressing that the governor has made no such appointment.
All attempts at getting the reaction of the Commissioner for Works and Transportation, Engr. Rotimi Ilyasu proved abortive, as numerous calls placed across to him were unanswered, same as messages sent seeking clarification unreturned as at the time of filing this report.
When contacted, the Press Secretary Minsitry of Works and Transportation Bola Onile promised to speak with the commissioner, and revert, which wasn’t fulfilled as at the time of filing this report.