An indigenous construction firm, ENL Consortium Limited, at a press conference in Abuja yesterday described as false and misleading, the allegation that it earmarked N11bn for bush clearing in the 32km Ibadan Circular Road concession project. The firm’s chairman, Clement Haastrup, was reacting to a statement credited to Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde that the project awarded by former Governor Abiola Ajimobi was jerked up from N14bn to N67bn. Makinde was also reported to have alleged that N11bn was budgeted for bush clearing alone.
Haastrup said that the allegation by the governor was a breach of the agreement wherein the government had made an undertaking to provide enabling environment for the project.
He said in view of the negative impact the allegations had caused the firm’s attempt to get financiers to bankroll the project, the firm would be demanding a rebuttal and an open apology from the state government or taking it to the Court of Arbitration in London as provided in the contract agreement.
Haastrup, a former deputy governor of Osun State, said what was actually estimated for the clearing of bush, grass and trees for the 32km road was N750.58 million He added that the firm competitively bid with two other Chinese firms for the contract before it was awarded the concession for N67.34 billion, noting that the Chinese firms quoted N70 billion and N82.5 billion for the same project.
He also said the N4.74billion quotation for culverts was for 52 culverts and drains for the entire 32km and not for four culverts as alleged by the governor.
“By his (Makinde) utterances, he has dented my integrity and the business name of ENL Consortium Ltd and made the project a high political risk, which would amount to a default on government side if the financiers that were ready to fund the project chose to back out,” Haastrup added.
Credit: Daily Trust