The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Thursday in Abuja tendered an “unreserved apology” to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing over its allegation of “false claims on the rehabilitation of Ife-Afewara Road in Osun State,” saying it was based on a false premise.
The RCCG, in a petition to the Senate, had claimed that it had good reason to believe the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing had paid N151.51 million to Messrs. Cartill Construzioni Nigeria Limited for the rehabilitation of Ife-Ifewara Road, a work which, according to the petitioner, was indeed carried out by the Church.
In the petition, dated 24th March, 2021, Secretary to the General Overseer of the RCCG, Pastor Niyi Adebanjo, said the Church, after carrying out the rehabilitation of the road, learnt that the aforementioned company, which was awarded the contract since 2010 and had abandoned the work for over six years, had been paid by the ministry for the work, praying that the money be retrieved from the company.
But responding to the allegation at a public hearing before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, said there was no proof to support the position of the petitioner that an unjust claim was made by contractor or paid by the ministry between 2016 and 2019.
Clarifying that both the award of the contract and payment of the said contract sum were made between 2010 and 2011, four years before the Buhari administration came to being, the minister said further that the contract was awarded on December 21, 2010 to the contractor in the sum of N662, 760,771.75 with a commencement date of March 7, 2011 and completion date of November 7, 2011.
On the sum of N151.51 million paid to the contractor, he said the payment made in two tranches, was statutorily made, adding that while the first payment of N99, 414, 115.76, made on March 31, 2011, represented 15 percent of contract sum, the second payment of N52,094,785, made on December 29, 2011, was based on submission of an Interim Statement.”
The minister explained further that although the RCCG could be commended for the work done, there are procedures and processes for such interventions be they on federal or state roads, adding that the Petitioner could have sought clarification either from the ministry or any other relevant agencies of government instead of petitioning the senate.
The Petitioner, Pastor Adebanjo, in his response, expressed deep regrets for taking the matter to the senate saying it was not, however, meant to embarrass the minister or his ministry but in the spirit of fighting corruption by ensuring that the money paid to the contractor was retrieved and paid to the federal government coffers.
Adebanjo said, “For the fact that the Ministry of Works deserves an apology and because the whole world is listening to us, I tender that apology unreservedly before this Senate Committee”.
A release signed by Mr. Hakeem Bello, the Special Adviser,
Communications to the Minister, said in his submissions, the Chairman of the Committee commended the minister for coming personally, “as always when we invite you” to respond to the petition and throwing more light on the whole issue, adding that other officials of government should borrow a leaf from him.”