Kogi state government has denied allegations of N1.86b fraud in the award of contract to a construction company.
This rebuttal is coming two weeks after leaked official documents revealed that N1.86 billion has been paid to TEC Engineering Nigeria Limited for a non-existent Ganaja Flyover in the heart of Lokoja, the state capital.
In a paid advertorial signed by the Director General of Media and Publicity to the Governor, Kingsley Fanwo, the state government explained that it diverted the N1.86 billion meant for Ganaja Flyover to other projects which would have more direct impact on a larger number of people.
“To set the records straight, the contract was awarded by the immediate past administration of Captain Idris Ichala Wada to TEC Engineering Nigeria Limited at a total contract sum of N4.6bn less than a month before he left office.
“After raising the initial certificates, the Kogi State Government paid the sum of N1.86 billion to the company which started casting beams for the flyover at their Yard in Lokoja. However, the State Executive Council later determined to prioritise the more pressing infrastructure needs of some communities in the State.
“Accordingly, through a Resolution to that effect, Council approved for the company to use the already released funds by way of virement to handle some other projects which would have more direct impact on a larger number of our people. Some of these projects are: Ankpa Township Road, Idah – Anyigba Road and Mount Patti Road.
“Each of the projects above were also captured by the corresponding budget in line with fiscal regulations. Some of the projects, like the Ankpa Township Roads have been completed while others are in advanced stages of completion.
“While the Flyover Project itself has not been jettisoned, in view of its huge cost outlay there is need to review the funding parameters before commencing full-fledged construction to avoid creating an abandoned project which would worsen a bad traffic situation indefinitely. Moreover, the project is on a Federal Road which presents its own unique set of challenges.
“It must be noted that the virement option and selection of the alternative projects to which the funds were applied followed due process and was done with due approval of the State Executive Council of the State,” he said.