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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Osun suspends consultant to $106m Ilesa water scheme

Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State has directed the immediate suspension of the project consultant for the Ilesa Water Project, Mrs Tawa Williams, over questionable handling of $106 million loan for the project.

Senator Ademola Adeleke
Gov. Ademola Adeleke of Osun State

The governor, in a statement made available to EnviroNews by his Spokesperson, Mallam Olawale Rasheed, further ordered full scale probe of the entire project and disbursed loans especially as there is no progress on the project despite reported disbursement of N10 billion and another $28 million on the project.

The governor equally suspended the project coordinator to allow for unhindered review of the loan administration while the consultant was directed to return to government the N70 million bullet proof jeep in her possession.

Governor Adeleke’s directive was sequel to the interim report of the State’s Assets Recovery Committee chaired by Dr B.T. Salami, which made recommendations for immediate action to stop further squandering of loans secured to execute the water project.

The State Chief Executive frowned at alleged corruption reflected in the handling of the loans and the project, an action he regretted has denied people of Ilesa and environs of drinkable water.

“My administration will dig into this matter with all seriousness. The huge fund in question are loans to be repaid. We have a sacred duty to ensure accountability and transparency in the handling of the fund and the project,” Senator Adeleke affirmed.

The Assets Recovery Committee had submitted an interim report which revealed an ongoing large-scale pilfering of the procured loans while the project recorded no progress commiserating with reported expenditure.

According to the interim report of the Salami-led committee, the Islamic Development Bank agreed to fund the project to the tune of $65 million while the Federal Government provided $41.94 million.

“So far, a total of $27.073 million has been expended from the IDB loan of $65 million, leaving a balance of the sum of $37.926 million. However, from the Federal Government loan of $41.94 million which the consultant had converted to N12 billion, the sum of N10 billion had been purportedly spent on the project, leaving a balance of N2 billion,” the report posited.

The Committee noted that despite the huge sums of $27.073 million and N10 billion of the state resources (repayable loans) already spent so far, the Ilesa water project is not yet functional and the good people of Ilesa are yet to access any water.

The recommendations of the committee which Governor Adeleke endorsed are as follows:

  • The suspension of the consultant and the project coordinator with immediate effect;
  • The Government should take a second look at the process leading to the auctioning of the various water pipes across the state and the revenue which accrued therefrom;
  • Given the enormity of the money involved in the Ilesa Water Project which are loans repayable by the Osun State Government both to IDB and the Federal Government, the execution of the project be probed with a view to ensuring that the state gets value for its money and that the loans are not diverted to private pockets;
  • The N70 million bullet-proof project vehicle in possession of the consultant be immediately retrieved from her;
  • The State Government should reconcile the level of its financial exposure ($65 million and $41.94 million) on this project with other financial exposures of the state with a view to determining and/or ascertaining the total indebtedness of the state to both local and international creditors.

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