The Sole Administrator of Egbe-Idimu Local Council Development Area (LCDA) in Lagos Hon. Hon. Adedoyin Salami and the Local Government Auditor General of the State Mr. M.O. Jimoh have differed on the payment of a contract sum, said to have been executed by a firm three years ago, as the former disregarded a directive by the later on the payment.
While the Auditor General ordered the revalidation and recertification of the payment voucher trough a memo, the Sole Administrator was said to have disregarded it on the grounds that the award of the contract did not conform with due process.
Our correspondent reliably learnt that the contract was awarded by Egbe –Idimu LCDA three years ago to a firm, Akibo Construction Company, in respect of a two-sided cast concrete drainage at Authority Avenue and the construction of a one-sided cast concrete drainage phase one at Abdulsalawu Street, respectively, in the council area.
Investigations revealed that the contract, awarded during the administration of Hon. Waheed Bello Adebayo a.k.a Sunshine, was to the tune of N42 million and N26 million, respectively.
According to findings, the financier of the contract, one Mrs. Janet Akinbogun, had petitioned the office of the Inspector General of Police Monitoring Unit, in Lagos, which intervened and reportedly investigated then chairman of the council.
The police investigation was said to be over a complaint of a case of Thirty four million naira (N34, 000,000) obtaining by false pretence and criminal conspiracy.
Investigation by the police, as gathered, revealed that two sensitive documents were presented to the police by the Sole Administrator of the LCDA, Hon. Adedoyin Salami, with the first letter showing that the voucher was nullified by the Auditor General, who stamped and signed the voucher, stating that the voucher should not be paid to the contractor without explanation.
But another letter also presented by the council confirmed that the contract was truly awarded to Akibo Construction Company, but added that when the Auditor General’s Inspection Team visited the site, the contractor was not found there; and that the contract was not executed accordingly.
The Auditor General, Mr. M. O. Jimoh, who set up a panel to carry out an inspection of the contract, following a petition to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, submitted that it was duly awarded and executed, and directed the Sole Administrator to revalidate , recertification of payment voucher in respect of Akibo Construction Limited Company.
His words, “I have carefully investigated and constituted an audit team to critically review and carry out re- inspection of the projects under controversy and consequently, concluded and recommends the outcome of the re- inspection conducted by the constituted team.”
“That the, Not Certified for payment, hitherto placed on the payment voucher be lifted and the office is hereby confirmed the re-validation of the payment voucher for payment.
“That the management of the Local Council Development Area should commence the payment of the balances due to the contractor.”
“That upon the release of the substantial amount, the contactor Messr Akibo Construction Nig. Ltd. Revisit the sites to rectify the inadequacies noticed on the job subject to withholding of 20% of the balance should the fails to rehabilitate the defective of potion of drainage”
But in his reaction, the Sole Administrator, Hon. Adedoyin Salami, said the Council was not aware of the contract since the Council Manager denied it and that it failed to pass through due process.
“The contractor did not follow due process. I was then a Councilor, a Leader of the House, i served under Hon. Waheed Bello a.k.a Sunshine and I have no knowledge of such contract,
we know how we normally do our things the, we awarded most of our contracts to Direct Labour with knowledge of our leaders of the party in the LCDA and any contract that does not passed through them will not see the light of the day”, the Sole Administrator hinted.
It was also gathered that Oba Rilwan Akiolu, the Oba of Lagos, had earlier intervened in matter and the Ministry of Justice, Lagos State, through the Advisory Services and Judicial Liaison, which advised that the Council should negotiate settlement with the contractor otherwise any attempt to encourage litigation may be fatal with the spiral on the interest rate mounting on the contract sum.
However, the contractor, Alhaji Kosemani Akinwunmi, the Director of Akibo Construction Limited, insisted that the contract was duly awarded and signed by all the signatories of the council, adding that he had all the relevant documents including cheques signed by the council to commence on the project.
Akibo, also appreciated the effort of the Lagos State Governor and the Chief of Staff by directing the Commissioner for Local Government and Community Development, Alhaji Teslim Erinfolami, to look into the matter for proper resolution on the payment.
“We hope the Commissioner will use his good office to address the matter based on the document presented before him”, he added.