Contractors shut FCT Minister’s office over unpaid COVID-19 projects
Embattled Permanent Secretary of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Olusade Adesola, came under fire on Monday over alleged diversion of COVID-19 funds meant for contractors.
The contractors claimed they executed various COVID-19 contracts for the administration between March 2020 and April 2021 without being paid.
The over 300 angry contractors blocked the major entrances as early as 10 am to Area 11 where the offices of FCT Ministers and Permanent Secretary are located.
One of the contractors, Emmanuel Nwachendu, told reporters: “The accusation of N1 million bribe before you are paid is true. This is one whole year after the supply. The agreement states that two weeks after the supply, once you supply bring your invoice and you will be paid.
” This is one year running nothing, what we are hearing is that each of the contractors has to pay N1 million bribe to the Permanent Secretary before we can be paid.
“That without the N1 million bribe you won’t get paid”.
According to them, the Permanent Secretary has been paying some of the contractors, especially those who reportedly agreed to give him N1 million bribe.
They further alleged they supplied various medical equipment and Personal Protective equipment and other things used in containing the pandemic.
But the Permanent Secretary denied ever asking anybody for a N1 million bribe.
He also stressed the delay in paying the contractors was due to their failure to meet all the administrative requirements.
“I am not aware of any payment of N1 million. The only instruction I gave was that all documents should be in the file before any payment can be made. The payment is in batches, we have paid others.
“Contractors below N10m have been paid. If there are issues, the contractors are the cause because they are yet to meet up with the requirements,” Adesola said.
He reaffirmed its commitment to pay all outstanding liabilities owed to contractors who supplied various items in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic in the territory.
While addressing the aggrieved contractors yet to be paid for jobs executed for the administration, Adesola, appealed to them to exercise patience.
He however revealed despite the challenges of funding, the administration has paid 109 contractors who supplied Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Health and Human Services Secretariat (HHSS) and 54 contractors in other Secretariats, Departments and Agencies (SDAs).
The Permanent Secretary, who hinged the delay in payments to dwindling internal revenue generation and expected funds from the Federal Government, also expressed optimism that the contractors would be paid as soon as possible.
Adesola assured: “We are making serious efforts in ensuring that we get the expected funds from the federal government, and we are also ensuring that we up-scale our Internal Revenue Generation (IGR) to enable us to offset our liabilities. I want to assure you that all our contractors will be paid soon”.