The Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory has uncovered a major fraud in the award of the contract for the Abuja Millennium Tower Project contract to Salini Nigeria construction company at a whopping sum of N69.3 billion instead of N53 billion.
The Committee made the discovery during an oversight visit to the site of the project at the Business Central District Area, Abuja.
On August 2, 2006, during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the construction of a Millennium Tower and Cultural Centre in Abuja worth N53 billion.
The Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Engr. Adamu Ismail, who conducted the Senators around the site, told them that the project was awarded to Messr Salini Nigeria Ltd on November 17, 2005, while work commenced on January 12, 2007.
Ismail noted that the project, which occupies four hectares of land, was expected to be completed by October 14, 2014. The document submitted to the committee put the initial cost of the project at N62.1 billion, augmented cost, N69.3 billion, variation, N16.2 billion and advance mobilisation, N13.28 billion.
The Committee which was led by its Chairman, Senator Smart Adeyemi, described the discrepancies in the figures of the contract as unacceptable and vowed that the committee will get to the root of the matter.
The committee also expressed anger and displeasure when told that 302 Nigerians were working as labourers and 33 foreigners as principal engineers. The Executive Secretary had said of the 304 Nigerians working on the project, one is a quantity surveyor and another one an engineer.
Senator Adeyemi, said: “You cannot have all the principal engineers as foreigners.”
The Millennium Tower would consist of an auditorium, virtual library, botanical garden, hotel, boutiques, drives and parking areas, in addition to providing an aerial view of the entire Federal Capital Territory and the tallest in Nigeria.
The project is expected to be completed in 2014.
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