By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA—THE Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory, FCT, was yesterday, told that former President Olusegun Obasanjo awarded the Abuja rail project in 2007 without design or Memorandum of Understanding, MoU.
The then Minister of FCT and current governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, was said to have signed the contract based on uncalculated estimate.
The revelation came as the committee discovered that the contract, which stood at 60.67 kilometres, was inflated by $10 million per kilometre even as the length was later reduced to 45 kilometres without refund of the cost for the 15.67 kilometres dropped.
To this end, the Senate Committee, led by Dino Melaye, has demanded the refund of $195.878 million being the amount for the 15.67 kilometres cut out, from the Chinese firm, CCE, handling the project.
Project Manager of the company, Etim Abak, who answered questions from members of the committee during their oversight assignment to the project site, said the contract was signed by the then FCT Minister without design and MoU, adding that it was carried out based on what he simply identified as conceptual design.
“The contract was awarded based on conceptual design and estimates not properly done. There was no formal design submitted and rail bridges and crossover bridges were not captured in the contract,” he told the committee.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Melaye, speaking at the site, said his research showed that the rail project was inflated by over $10 million per kilometre, wondering why such corrupt act was perpetrated by the handlers of the project.
Noting that the contract sum was $841.645 million and project completion period was 48 months while the scope of work was 60.67km standard gauge, with double railway tracks and associated permanent way within FCT, Melaye said the whole project was shrouded in fraud.
He wondered why the project, which length initially stood at 60.67 kilometres, was later reduced to 45. 245 kilometres without reduction in the cost of the project initially paid for.