Andrew Emwanta, the Senior Special Adviser on Public Affairs to the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has slammed the immediate past governor of the state, Adams Oshiomhole over an alleged breach of the state’s Public Procurement Law.
According to him, the former governor breached the law by paying 75% upfront for the construction of the Edo Specialist Hospital, when he was in office, as against the 25% approved by Section 47 of the Procurement Law.
Emwanta also noted that while that sum was paid, no equipment was actually delivered to the state during the time frame.
Speaking further, the SSA alleged that when President Buhari came to commission the hospital towards the end of Oshiomhole’s tenure, the equipment that were in the hospital were all hired from Lagos.
After the commissioning, according to him, the equipment were returned and the hospital was placed under lock and key.
“So when I hear the former governor talk about how the place was locked, he himself, locked the hospital.
“When the (new) governor came, the hospital was opened and we discovered that there were no equipment because when they hired these equipment from Lagos, before Oshiomhole left the government, they returned them and there is no way the government can conceal such a public trust because health is at the core of every government policy,” Emwata said on Channels TV’s Politics Today on Wednesday.
But the spokesperson for the PDP and a former commissioner in Edo State under the Oshiomhole administration, Kassim Afegbua, who also made an appearance on the programme, debunked the claims about the hired equipment, noting that the hospital is 75% ready in terms of equipment, 100% ready in terms of structure and set to function.
He also stated that the procurement and the 75% upfront payment was not out of place.
According to him, in view of the fact that the equipment were state-of-the-art items, it was agreed upon at the time, to pay 75% upfront, “so that the company would not default in terms of manufacturing the equipment”.
“These are not items you can buy across the counter. They are items that have to be manufactured to suit specifications” Afegbua said.
He further explained that Section 47 of the procurement law had some exceptions which include that “in the event that you are going to pay more than 25%, there has to be a written request from the company, there has to be a bank guarantee and or, an insurance bond to ensure that when you pay such amount of money, the contractor will not run away from site.
“So what we did as an exco, a body for which Governor Obaseki was part and parcel, was not out of place,” Afegbua stressed.
“For you to now set up a commission of enquiry indicting us, means that Obaseki is also indicted.
“So if he wants to try us, he should also remove his immunity and join us in the dock so that we can be tried together”.
Meanwhile, after a briefing by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry with the governor earlier in the week, he (Obaseki) gave an assurance that anyone found culpable, no matter how highly-placed, will be called to account for their action.