Osun state House of Assembly and the consultant handling the Ilesa water project, Mrs. Tawa Williams, Thursday, bickered over claim by the government that $106 million was mishandled in the project.
The state’s Asset Recovery Committee had accused the consultant of mishandling $106 million of the project and went away with a N70 million bulletproof jeep.
In her reaction on a private television station in Osogbo, Western Nigeria Television, the consultant explained that she had appeared before the state government committee but they asked irrelevant questions in apparent failure to study the report given to them.
She alleged that the state assembly demanded a $5 million bribe from her which she refused to give them, noting that the jeep given to her was worth N45 million at the time the government gave her and not a million.
She explained how the legislators through the committee demanded $5 million after the tenure of former Governor Adegboyega Oyetola and she refused to give them.
The consultant also faulted the state government for making allegations without visiting the site, saying the asset recovery committee was asking her irrelevant questions when she appeared before them because they did not study the report given to them.
She said, “I do not have any bulletproof car that is worth N70 million. I have an ordinary jeep that was given to me by the government and when it was given to me it was worth N45 million.
“The government that claimed there is nothing to show for the money spent on the project has never visited the site of the project.
“I was only invited by the asset recovery committee of the government and they were asking me questions that are not related to the project. The report that was given to them in respect of the project was not studied by them. I don’t know who told them that N10 billion has no value.
“Islamic Development Bank has visited the site. They commended us for the job we have done. Federal Ministry of Water Resources which is the custodian of the money inspected the site and they credited us for the volume of work done.
“From IDB, we got $65millon. We got $41.9 from the Federal Government as a grant because the state could not provide their counterpart fund, so it took the project upon itself to adopt it as its legacy project. The money was put at CBN and the Federal Ministry of Water Resources was put in charge of expanding the money.
“The Ilesa water project is on the verge of completion. We have spent $32 million from the loan and we have $32.1 million left to spend. This report is of 26th December 2022. The project is marked to be completed in 2024 because it remains only the treatment plant which will be done in 2023.
“The house of assembly members visited us in 2020 and gave us kudos, but what has changed their position on us, I don’t know, but there are some demands on us and we can’t meet those demands.
“The house is asking for $5millon and I said I don’t have $5 million to give to anybody. They are asking for takeaway bribes else they will go to the press and blackmail us that the quality of work done is not good. It did not come from House as a whole but House Committee on Water Supply with its chairman. I told them that I only have money to do the job.
“The demand was made after the exit of Oyetola as the governor. They invited the contractors and they are threatening them that they will move to the site to disrupt the work,” she added.
Former governor Rauf Aregbesola flagged off the N48.7 billion water project on December 19, 2017, and promised that the project would complete in 24 months.
Meanwhile, the house of assembly denied the allegation by the consultant and advised her to retract the allegation within 24 hours.
The media aide to the Speaker, Timothy Owoeye, Kunle Alabi, in a statement, said “Osun House of Assembly will never ask any Agency of government or individual for any gratification before it could adequately discharge its constitutional duties.
The legislators explained that the consultant was only advised on poor implementation of the project and the non-execution of a $2 million treatment plant.
“The House of Assembly under the leadership of Rt. Hon Timothy Owoeye has given Engineer Tawa Williams 24 hours to retract her bribery allegation against the committee of the Assembly, her failure to do that within the said hours, the Assembly shall be forced to seek redress in court as no amount of blackmail will stop the Assembly from playing its constitutional role,” it added.