Below is a press release signed from the benue state ministry of works, transport and energy, signed by information officer, Terlumun Mchie.
Our attention has been drawn to a report in Nigerian Pilot newspaper of Tuesday, 31stJanuary, 2017 with the headline “Tsav alleges huge contract scam in Benue.”
The report stated that the former Lagos State Police Commissioner, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav made the allegations of the contract scam at the Ministry of Works, Transport and Energy, in a letter he wrote to the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom.
If indeed such a letter had been written in good faith one expected him to wait for a reply.
But our major surprise is that the reporter did not contact the Ministry of Works, Transport and Energy for its account before publishing his story as demanded by professional standards which require that both sides must be heard.
It is therefore our belief that the objective of the report is to cause mischief and smear the good image of the Ortom administration.
However, for the purpose of putting things in their correct perspective it is necessary to state the true position of things.
On the issue raised bordering on Messrs Tongyi New International Construction Company and the award of the Origbo-Imande-Akpu-Gbajimba road contract, we wish to inform the general public that the Benue State Government carried out due diligence and followed due process before awarding the said contract.
It was advertised and all companies registered with the Ministry were notified to bid for the project and Tongyi New International Construction Company was therefore chosen based on its track record of similar work in other states.
On the allegation that the company could not be located at the address it gave in Asokoro the explanation is that it has relocated to Utako.
It is the practice of the ministry that contractors are always pre-qualified before allowing them to tender for any project in the ministry and in this particular case, adverts were pasted and various contractors submitted their quotations from which analysis was made and one chosen. Since we are yet to domesticate the federal government’s procurement policy, these procedures conformed to our current standards.
From our record the company does not belong to any government official.
The report itself quoted that the alleged official in question is not part of the purported Dowutas Investment which merged with HSHF Overseas Mining Limited to found Tyonyi but rather members of his family who are adults and can hold their own under the law.
The same procedure followed in the award of the contract above applied to all the other contracts awarded by the Ministry.
From the records of the Ministry Governor Ortom has not brought any companies from anywhere to shortchange the people of the state.
Payments for road contracts are usually based on certificates which are approved by professional staff who supervise the projects.
Moreover, the Governor himself takes time to personally inspect ongoing projects to ascertain their quality and speed of execution.
Every payment so far made through the Ministry can be justified by the criteria stated above.
In the case of the Origbo-Imande-Akpu-Gbajimba road which leads to Governor Ortom’s local government headquarters, the allegation that the contract was awarded to a non performing contractor beats the imagination.
Would the Governor subvert his determination to provide an access road to his country home?
Is Alhaji Tsav more interested in the completion of the road than the person who awarded the contract?
The answer to both questions is no.
The statement in the report credited to the former Police Commissioner that he been on the road severally and found no job done to justify such payment is baffling.
“At Origbo, only 20 concrete rings and an abandoned sign post are there ostensibly to deceive the public. Only about 200 meters of the road at Origbo is graded the rest is thick bush,” he stated.
The stretch of the road is about 40 kilometers and Alhaji Tsav’s assessment is clearly based only on a short distance. Obviously he did not start his assessment from Gbajimba where ongoing quality work has gone far.
If he had gone as far as Gbajimba where the construction company commenced its work, he would have agreed with the Works, Transport and Energy Commissioner, Emmanuel Manger, for submitting before the state executive council that M/S Tyonyi New Construction Company is a tested, reputable and competent construction company.
Yet, does the former policeman possess the capacity to assess roads for payment and is it his responsibility?
The professionals whose duty it is have certified the progress so far made and payment has been made based on their assessment.
Moreover, Governor Ortom makes frequent visits to his farm in the village through this route and would have noticed if the road had been abandoned as stated by Alhaji Tsav.
But that has not been the case.
We urge members of the public to disregard the publication as there is no contract scam as far as the Ministry of Works, Transport and Energy is concerned.