Chairman of Abuja Municipal Council Area of Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Hon. Abdullahi Candido Adamu, has been accused of forcing the Managing Director of Ngukat Nigeria Ltd, a construction company, Mrs Agena Franca, to sign a letter of revocation of contract under duress.
The council was also accused of non-payment for contracts the company had executed after the valuation of work done by the officials since 2016
The contract title ‘Rehabilitation of Jiwa Access Road’ was awarded to the company on November 15, 2016 in the sum of N125, 320, 513.50 with contract number AMAC/ADM/ECM/2016/033.
SaharaReporters gathered that Chairman of the council, Adamu, verbally persuaded the contractor to move to the site and commence work without any contract agreement or mobilisation fee.
Adamu was said to have adduced his inability to pay mobilisation fee to the fact that he had not started the collection of the tenement rates and he had been in talks with the National Assembly to grant the approval.
The contractor was said to have insisted on the signing a formal agreement and payment of mobilisation fee before the commencement of work but Adamu convinced and promised the company that payment and agreement would be made available.
The agreement was later issued on 28th February 2017 without provision for mobilisation fee and it was expected to be completed with six months, which was contrary to the initial arrangement.
The site engineer, Iyorker Mbaave, told SaharaReporters that, “In the agreement we discovered that there was no provision for payment of mobilisation. At this point we have cleared earthworks, culvert and drainages at 80 per cent completed. The chairman told us to continue the work but they sent somebody around July 2017 for the valuation of the work done.
“The council acknowledged the valuation of work we have done so far and said they will pay us and terminate the contract because we could not complete the project within the six months stipulated duration.”
In the certificate of valuation sighted, the sum of N37, 449,142.50 was raised by the Area council in favour of the company for the work done including retention dated 30th August 2017.
It was gathered that the company carried out clearing and cutting 100 per cent completed, laterite fillings and compaction, drainages and culverts 80 per cent completed without payment from the council.
Findings revealed that only paltry sum of N3,400,000 was paid to the company in two instalments leaving the balance of N33,049, 292.50 since the retention period was over.
The management of the company had written several letters to Adamu to request the payment of the outstanding balance to enable them liquidate their indebtedness to their suppliers but all to no avail.
Investigation revealed that some officials of the council had on one occasion threatened the Managing Director at the council secretariat to sign a letter of revocation of contract under duress.
Franca was allegedly forced and threatened to append her signature on the revocation letter without paying her project fee balance.
SaharaReporters gathered that the council officials conspired and re-awarded the contract to another person.
In a letter of revocation Ref. AMAC /ADM/ECM /2016/033/VOL.1 dated 23rd September, 2017 signed by Head of Administration, Yahaya Ahmed Khana, to the Managing Director Ngukat Nig. Ltd and obtained by SaharaReporters, the reason for the termination was adduced to the failure of the company to execute the contract within the six months stipulated in the award letter.
The letter reads, “I am directed to inform you that the contract for the rehabilitation of Jiwa Access Road awarded to your company at the sum of one hundred and twenty five million, three hundred and twenty thousand, five hundred and thirteen naira, fifty kobo ( N125,320, 513, .50k) only is hereby revoked.
“The amount of work done so far which has been assessed and valued will be processed for payment accordingly.”
A new twist was added to the matter when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission officials invited the Managing Director of the construction company and site engineer and confronted them with the revocation of contract letter.
The officials of the anti-graft body were said to have told them that they were not invited either as complainants or suspects but as witnesses but were asked to make statement.
They said they stumbled on their files in the course of the operation in the Area council.
The EFCC operatives were said to have informed them that they have no power to compell the council to pay them off but can only make an appeal to that effect.
But a source in the council, who pleaded anonymity, said some of the top officials have been invited by the anti graft agency over the contract.
When SaharaReporters reached out to the AMAC Chairman for his reaction on the allegations, he refused to respond.
The information officer of the council was not available for comment when contacted for comments.