By Daniel Tyokua
Aggrieved contractors in the wee hours of Monday grounded activities at the Federal Capital Territory Administration over alleged bribery scandal by the permanent secretary, Olusade Adesola.
This is coming barely one week after the Joint Unions Action Committee, JUAC, within the administration declared the permanent secretary office’s illegal.
The contractors claimed that they had executed various COVID-19 contracts for the administration between March 2020 and April 2021, without being paid.
About 300 visible angry contractors, as early as 10am stormed Area 11 where the offices of FCT Ministers and that of the Permanent Secretary are located, and blocked the major entrances.
One of the Contractors, Emmanuel Nwachendu, said, ” 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 contractor 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 .
They said, the Permanent Secretary has been paying some of the contractors , especially those who reportedly agreed to give him N1 million bribe.
According to them, they supplied various medical equipment and Personal Protective equipment and other things used in containing the pandemic.
“We supply medical equipment, agents, PPE but since that last year it has been one story or the other. What we heard initially was that procurement processes was suspended and these money was supposed to have been paid withing two weeks, maximum 1 month, of supply. Some of us took loan to be able to meet up with the supply.
“This Permanent Secretary Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Adesola Olusade came and met with us he brought bout procurement process and that day we were over 300 contractors in the room, the hall becoming roudy, that was October 2020. And they told us they were waiting for suplementary budget, that as soon as the suplementary budget is passed that we are going to be aid . As soon as the suplementary budget was passed, they asked us to to bring our documents which we did.
“We followed it up to ensure that everyone made it. We followed the files, what is annoying was that they batched the files , they said they said they were paying is 80% and we told them go ahead and pay. And they paid the 1st batch but when it get to the second batch which has more contractors .
“We even followed it up, from one department to the other, after the 5th week, the Permanent Secretary said for the 1st batch that he only paid those below N10m and there are some of us that are below N5 millon but were not paid.
The Permanent Secretary said it was only one person that was working on the files but now he got more people to work on the files so we said no problem.
We were waiting after two week we started hearing different stories that some were collecting 0.5% and some said they were asking for N1 million bribe from each of the contractor”.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary has denied ever asking anybody for a N1 million bribe.
He also stressed that 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 1 million Naira. The only instruction I gave was that all documents should be in 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.