The House of Representatives, yesterday, summoned former Minister of Works, Chief Tony Anenih, over the N2.3 billion purportedly disbursed for an abandoned road project in Nassarawa State in 2006.
House Committee on Public Accounts also summoned the site engineers, Federal Controller of Works and Permanent Secretary of the ministry when the contract was awarded.
The committee, chaired by Solomon Olamilekan, however, said it would not hesitate to use the services of Interpol to extradite the contractor, Torino Internazionale Nigeria Limited, that left the country after collecting N1.8 billion without executing the road project.
According to him, Chief Anenih had been invited in respect of a memo he presented to the then Federal Executive Council, FEC, under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, which made the body to award the contract, despite earlier strong advice that the firm had no technical capacity to handle the road project.
The committee expressed reservation as to why such huge amount of money would go down the drain under the watchful eyes of those at the helms of affairs.
Auditor-General of the Federation, AGF, had in its 2006 audit report, alleged that the failed road contract was awarded at the cost of N2.3 billion, of which N552 million was paid, before the contract was terminated. The contractor later went to court and obtained court judgment of N1.3 billion against the Federal Government for terminating the contract.
In a related development, the committee had summoned another contractor along with site engineers and Federal Controller of Roads over another failed N1.45 billion road contract in Enugu State.
The AuGF, in a query also raised in 2006, alleged that the contract was awarded in 1999 at the cost sum of N1.45 billion and had reached about 70 percent completion before it was terminated on the request of the contractor and later re-awarded.
Federal Controller of Works, Engineer Dan Shehu, who appeared alongside Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Alhaji A. Mohammed, alleged that the road contract was terminated at the instance of the contractor, who claimed that the contract was awarded at a low rate and as such could not continue.
He said this prompted the government to re-award the remaining 30 percent at the cost N1.09 billion. At this stage, committee members became furious as to why the remaining 30 percent part of the contract should be awarded at a cost of N1.09 billion for a job that could only require between N300 and N500 million to complete.
Consequently, the committee summoned the site engineer and other key officials of the ministry, when the contract was awarded, to appear before it along with the photographs of the controversial roads.
Also, the committee had set up a sub-committee to verify about 150 “shady” vouchers from the Ministry of Works amounting to N2.2 billion, which the ministry could not account for. The sub-committee, headed by Pally Iriase, has a representative of the AuGF and is expected to report back within seven days.