Kwara State Ministry of Education has noted that Dr. Alagbonsi Abdullateef, coordinator of anti-corruption civil society organization, the Elite Network for Sustainable Development (ENetSuD) regrettably descended so low by maligning the character of its officials.
The Ministry was responding to claims attributed to the ENetSUD coordinator by INSIDER NG that a contractor handling the renovation of Government High School, Ilorin confided in him that excess money worth N40,530,208.00 in Bill of Quantity (BOQ) on the project went to it.
“However, the Ministry takes a strong exception to the recent claim by the civil society organization to the effect that ‘irrelevant items’ worth N40.5m were wrongly inserted into the projects. Especially condemnable is the claim that the said sums were paid to some officials of the Ministry. We reject this outrageous claim that was credited to ENETSUD and we are beginning to see why a segment of the population believe the group is becoming political and reckless in its operations,” a statement by the ministry signed by Mrs. Adeosun M. Kemi, Permanent Secretary said.
According to the statement, the social audit policy on which ENetSuD was riding to make the claim is a practical demonstration of the Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq led administration’s commitment to openness and efficient management of scarce resources.
“Through it, EnetSud, as a CSO, was willingly provided with a Bill of Quantity (BOQ) on some public projects. Through this mechanism, the administration has commendably subjected its projects to public scrutiny as a show of good faith and probity.
“The Ministry recalls that this CSO had last year submitted a report in which it made some observations, which have been taken up with the contractor and relevant officials. This, for the avoidance of doubt, is the essence of the social audit.”
The statement also explained that all the items in the BOQ were relevant and lawful, emphasizing that a kobo from the funds did not go to the Education Ministry.
“The items which are in the project that ENetSud described as contract inflation covered statutory deductions for Withholding Tax (WHT), development levy, vetting fees, preliminary, contingency and progress photographs. These are statutory fees and taxes that are deducted from all projects payable to the state Government through either the Ministry of Justice or Ministry of Finance as revenue. They are lawful. Not a kobo of this money is due to the Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development. It is therefore out of place for anyone to take liberty in the social media or social audit to impugn the characters of public/servants.
“One wonders whether ENetSud has taken enough time to appreciate the rationale for the inclusion of these items to ensure effective projects management and delivery. Therefore, this could not have been construed as project inflation.
“The Ministry requests Dr Alagbonsi and the Insiderng.net to retract the malicious information doled out to the public through the Social Media, or mention the names of the contractor and the officials given the money.
“Members of the general public are therefore advised to discountenance the malicious Social Media publication that is designed to distract the government from its determined campaign to not only give befitting facelifts to our dilapidated schools but also revolutionise teaching and the education sector in Kwara State.”