… Witness Surprised Company Received N240m instead of N267m.
Details of how millions of naira belonging to the Imo State Government were allegedly spent without due process during the regime of Rochas Okorocha have been unfolding with witnesses mounting the box to testify to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on contracts.
In one of the panel’s sitting in Owerri, a firm that handled a supposed Tunnel project at the Nworie River, Kilcornam Construction Company gave account of how it verbally got the contract for the construction of the Tunnel across the Assumpta Avenue, near Nworie River in 2016.
Even as there is no evidence of the Tunnel project on the road than a damaged surface left behind which the Emeka Ihedioha administration fixed before it was removed, Kilcornam construction company Accountant, Mr Ududua Collins told the panel that there was no contract paper or agreement before the job was started and finished.
Said he “Former Governor Rochas Okorocha approached the company to know if we can construct a tunnel across the road. We affirmed our ability to deliver on the job. He (Okorocha) paid us the full contract sum of N240 million before we commenced work. He then took us to the site.”
“There was no contract paper or agreement before we commenced and finished the job. It was a verbal agreement. Not even a letter of award for the contract, was given to the company.”
On how the company was guided on the terms and conditions of the contract, Ududua maintained that the award was verbal.
Speaking further, the witness said “The company’s engineers prepared the Bill of Quantities, but I do not know if engineers from the state Ministry of Works supervised the work, while it lasted. There was no certificate of completion for the job,” Ududua said.
While saying that he did not know the office that paid the bill, Mr. Ududua added: “We were paid the net. The state government deducted N24 million, representing the withholding tax and Value Added Tax, VAT, at source.”
reminded that a document from the Accountant General’s Office indicated that the company was paid N267 million, Ududua said: “I will be surprised to hear that the tunnel cost N267 million.”
Answering a question on who designed and prepared the Bill of Quantities, the witness said it was the company’s engineers, after receiving the N240 million from the government, through electronic transfer.
When the judicial commission sought to know why the company did not asphalt the top of the tunnel, Ududua said it was not part of the contract.
He not only denied ever hearing that the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) had raised an alarm over the shoddy construction work on the tunnel, but also denied knowing that any engineer working in Nigeria, must be registered by the COREN.