Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
A civil society group, Talakawa’s Parliament (TP), has called on the Edo State Government to allow the Ministry of Justice press criminal charges against contractors who abandoned projects in the state to serve as deterrent to others that want to toe the same line of corruption.
This was contained in a press statement entitled ‘Give Investigative Effect To The Audit Report On EDSOPADEC: Being An Open Letter To Governor Godwin Obaseki On The Shady Activities Of EDSOPADEC’.
The statement, signed by the group’s President and Secretary, Marxist Kola Edokpayi and Wilson Imasuen, respectively, said despite the huge resources made available to Edo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (EDSOPADEC) to execute projects in the state, it has not lived up to expectation and thereby leading to the legislative disbandment of the board in 2017.
It stated that due to the poor performances of the commission, the state governor set up an audit committee headed by Engr. S.I.O Osara to look into its activities between 2011 and 2017 and it was discovered that 44 projects were abandoned.
“You will agree with us sir that, sequel to the disbandment of the board, you empanelled an audit committee headed by Engr. S.I.O Osara to audit the activities of EDSOPADEC between 2011 and 2017.
“The Engr. S.I.O Osara audit committee in its sagacity, submitted its report on the 2nd day of June, 2018 that a total of 117 projects were executed by EDSOPADEC in the oil and gas communities across Orhionmwon, Ikpoba-Okha and Ovia North East during the period under review.
“That 46 out of the 117 projects failed and were vandalised. That 44 projects were abandoned by the contractors most of which were fully paid for.
The statement said since the governor expressed displeasure over the activities of the commission and promised to wade into it and make them live up to expectation , he has not recovered any funds or send the contractors who abandoned their projects after being duly mobilise to sites, to jail.
According to the statement “It is on record that you expressed dissatisfaction with the poor handling of projects and promised to recover the funds back from the contractors.
“My Excellency, more than two months after the receipt of the audit report, you have neither recovered the funds from the contractors nor prosecute those found wanting at a time Edo people are depressed over the spate of looting of public funds by trustees of public agencies.
“We are worried that those whose actions and inactions metamorphosed EDSOPADEC from being a blessing to curse to the people are still galivanting freely on the streets, while supposed beneficiaries wallow in developmental cum economic darkness”,
The group called on the state government to march words with action by activating the ministry of justice to press criminal charges against those that erred to serve as deterrent to other public office holders that want to toe the line of corruption.