Oshiomhole: Afegbua, Emwanta Fallout Over Edo Central Hospital
- Oshiomhole breached state Public Procurement Law, says Obaseki SSA Emwanta
Kassim Afegbua, a member of the Peoples Democratic who served as a commissioner under Adams Oshiomhole’s administration has come in defence of his former boss over alleged breach of state Public Procurement Law.
Afegbua who appeared on Channels Television on Wednesday along with Andrew Emwanta, a senior spokesman to Governor Godwin Obasaeki said Obaseki was part of the process.
The former commissioner said Oshiomhole did not breach procurement law when he paid 75% upfront for the construction of the Edo Specialist Hospital as against the stated 25%.
Oshiomhole had been under fire for a transaction that took place under his administration. He is alleged to have fraught the law that states that any contractor working on a government project should not receive more than 25% upfront payment upon the award of a contract.
In his defence, Afegbua said Oshiomhole’s government decided to go with 75% upfront in view of the fact that the equipment is a state of the art items and also “so that the company would not default in terms of manufacturing them”.
“These are not items you can buy across the counter. They are items that have to be manufactured to suit specifications.”
The former commissioner referred to a clause in section 47 of the procurement law which states that “in the event that you are going to pay more than 25%, there has to be a written request from the company. There also 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 the site.
“So what we did as an EXCO, a body for which Governor Obaseki was part and parcel, was not out of place,” he said.
Afegbua was responding to allegations by Obaseki government, defended by Andrew Emwanta against Oshiomhole’s administration where Obaseki led the economic team.
The governor’s aide had argued on the same programme on Channels TV that Oshiomhole breached the Procurement for going beyond the specified per cent, yet no equipment was delivered at the expected time.
Continuing, Emwanta said Oshiomhole government borrowed equipment from Lagos after inviting President Muhammadu Buhari to Edo State to commission the hospital.
He alleged that the government returned the equipment after the hospital was commissioned and placed it under lock.
“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 was no equipment because when they hired this equipment from Lagos before Oshiomhole left the government, they returned this equipment and there is no way the government can conceal such a public trust because health is at the core of every government policy,” Emwanta said.
Again, Afegbua reacted to the allegation, saying that the hospital was 75% ready in terms of equipment and 100% in the structure before the government invited the President to commission it.
In his argument, he fingered Obaseki as part of the process who was not only aware of the process but a member of the EXCO at the time.
“When we were approving that contract in 2016, as a government, as an EXCO, Governor Godwin Obaseki was our colleague then. He was part and parcel of the EXCO.
“He also was one of those who gave advice that it would be better for us to have a 75% advance payment so that we can meet the fluctuations that were imminently going to happen as a result of our Naira devaluation,” he said.
Continuing, Afegbua said “the same government on September 18, 2018, wrote a letter of commendation to Vamed (the Contractors) for having fulfilled the terms of the contract of supply of equipment to that hospital.
“For you to now set up a commission of enquiry indicting us, it 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”.
Speaking further, the PDP spokesperson said he believes that the present government has deliberately refused to bring in and train personnel that would utilize the “sophisticated” equipment at the hospital, all in the bid to blackmail the past administration.”
Earlier in the week, Obaseki had vowed to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry that his government would go after anyone found culpable irrespective of their political status.
“We have been putting the right measures in place and if there are resources of government that need to be returned back, we will not hesitate to ask for it,” he said.
“Since I came into office, you can’t find this type of breach that you have mentioned. If people have to face prosecution, whether civil or criminal, they will have to be prosecuted”.