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The Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu has denied the assertion that his administration got ₦27.4 billion World Bank facility for road construction and erosion control projects in the state.
Ikpeazu said the member of the House of Assembly, representing Aba South State Constituency, Obinna Ichita, who made the allegation, got it all wrong.
In a statement by the Secretary to State Government (SSG), Chris Ezem, the governor, called on Ichita to seek information before making allegations.
Ichita made the claim in a February 28 letter by his lawyer, Aloy Ejimakor, requesting the state government to furnish him with information on the financing of notable projects in his constituency, under the Freedom of Information Act.
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Ejimakor sought, ‘the accounting details of how the government of Abia State spent the ₦27.4 billion (or the equivalent sum in dollars) which the Government of Abia State had received in full from the World Bank for road construction and erosion control projects in Aba, specifically Port-Harcourt Road, Uratta Road, Obohia Road, Ohanku Road, and Ngwa Road.’
But the governor, speaking through Ezem, denied that his administration received such cash from the World Bank for road construction and erosion control projects in Aba.
Ezem said: ‘The contract was for the ‘Construction of Flood Mitigation Measures at Uratta and Umuagbai Flood Plains in Aba Municipality.
‘The contract was awarded to Messrs Hartland Nig. Ltd/NBHH JV of 23 House 24, Usman Halilu Street, Life camp, Abuja after a rigorous International Competitive Bidding process supervised by the highest procurement committee of the World Bank at Washington DC, at the value of ₦27.4 billion.
‘The contract was signed on 30th April, 2020. At the NAFEX exchange rate of $1 to ₦413 this contract sum was $66,394,939,22.
‘The site was handed over to the contractor in the first week of June 2020 and the contract duration was 30 months from the time of site takeover.’
He explained that ‘the contract did not at any time include the construction of all of Port Harcourt Road or Uratta Road or even Ohanku Road as you and your client have erroneously claimed.’
Ezem added that the scope of the initial work was reduced, following which some funds were returned to the World Bank.