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Umahi reacts to N8.6bn procurement violation allegation, asks for apology or head to court

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Nigeria's Minister of Works, Engineer David Umahi

 

 

Dave Umahi, Minister, Works has threatened legal action against a group accusing his  Ministry of paying the sum of N8.6bn to a microfinance bank for the execution of 58 projects in four states between June to December 2023.

Umahi, issued the threat while briefing newsmen in Port Harcourt on Sunday, stating that the group’s allegation which suggested that the government now uses microfinance banks to carry out projects was misinforming to the public.

In a report by trackang, and given prominence by BudgIT, a transparency foundation, it was alleged that between June – December 2023, the Federal Ministry of Works paid the sum of N8.6 billion to FIMS Microfinance Bank Limited for the construction of road projects in Oyo, Benue, Ekiti & Kaduna for the execution of  58 road projects.

The group in the publication signed by its head, Ayomide Ladipo said the Federal Ministry of Works violated the public procurement act 2007 when it allocated the said sum to a financial institution to carry out construction projects which it clearly lacks the capability to handle.

BudgIT through its country office also stated that it has written to the minister to make clarification on the said payment under the FOI law.

But clearing the air, Umahi said he was not in the Ministry during the period under review, stating that as at May 2023 he was still the Governor of Ebonyi state and was appointed Minister of Works in August.

Umahi said, “I should not have given attention to that but I did say something about it yesterday and for me that publication is just corruption fighting back.

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“First and foremost, I do not know who is Tracka and I should not know them for them to flag down any corruption that is observed and it is the responsibility of everybody in the society to do that.

“But I think they are being mischievous in the sense that they said the money was paid to Micro microfinance bank by that, he has misinformed the society by trying to portray that government money is diverted into a micro finance bank.

“Then it is when one has the patience to read down the report you will see what every contractor got. People will not have the patience to do that, so I look at it as being very mischievous and I am going to take on them. We will write to them and after seven days if they do not apologize to me, then I will sue them to court because they are being mischievous,” He added.

“The only right they have is the right of the performance of those projects. I do not know the projects and it is not my duty to go back to what my predecessor did. But if the public observed that certain projects were paid for and they were not done, it is their right to report to us and then we will now go back to ask the contractors why they did not do the job that they got money to do. When a job has been done money about the obligation of their agreement has no longer the federal government money.

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He continued, “It is now an obligation owed to the contractor and so the contractor has the right to instruct where his money should be paid. I do not know those financial regulations but I feel that if one is given a job and one does the job satisfactorily one should tell where his money should be paid.”

 


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