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Communications: Reps Launch Probe into Capital Projects Contracts

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From Jonas Ike, Abuja

The House of Representatives on Wednesday began probe into all the contracts awarded by all the government agencies in the communications sector from 1999 till date with a view to tracking all abandoned projects in all the states of the country and tracking those responsible.
To this end, the House Ad-hoc Committee on Abandoned Capital Constituency Projects has kicked off an investigative hearing into all the contracts awarded by Ministry of Communications and its agencies in the sector from 1999 to date.
At the hearing, Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee Hon. Chukwuma Umeoji said most of these stakeholders are to present the Committee  with details of all capital projects awarded, abandoned and executed contracts by contractors that had gulped billions of Naira in the past two decades.
He expressed worries noting that the Ministry of Communications and its agencies as well as boards of parastatals are aware that many of these contractors had received advanced payments of not less than 50% of the contract sum.
He pointed out that government had spent billions of Naira on many of such contracts with the people getting little or no value for the money spent
He said: ” it is instructive to note that if the nation is to have a meaningful development in terms of infrastructure and social services, there is urgent need for a change in the manner of award of contract for the execution of capital projects”.
The lawmaker added that why the investigation has become imperative is due to the the high number of abandoned projects and the level of Infrastructural decay in many parts of the country.
He added that relevant government agencies notably NITDA, NIPOST, NIGCOMSAT and Galaxy Backbone Plc is to be invited by the Committee to make presentation to it on the matter.
At the hearing, a member of the the  Committee Hon. Abbas Adekunle from Oyo State said they need to compile the list of all abandoned projects in all the parts of the country.
The Chairman later adjourned the Committee meeting as they resolved to send letters to the relevant stakeholders to appear before the lawmakers in two weeks time.

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