Teddy Oscar, Abuja
The House of Representatives’ Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes has expressed its displeasure at the progress work on the N18.867 billion Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) building that is being handled by German firm, Julius Berger.
Speaking during an oversight function of the committee, Hon. Jagaba Adams Jagaba, chairman of the committee, said that he expected the level of work on the project to be at 70 percent, rather than the 51 percent the construction firm has reached.
Olu-Kayode Dickson, project coordinator and representative of the firm, had hinted that what was left of the project cost was N9.39 billion.
Dickson said that the project was structurally completed, except for some fittings.
Pointing out that it was because the company procured some equipment for project in order to meet the September 2013 deadline for the project, Dickson regretted that non-release of funds made it impossible.
But Jagaba, who was not pleased with the progress report, ordered the construction company to produce the progress report of the building within two weeks.
The committee also directed the company to sponsor its consultants on the project to Germany to inspect some equipment it said it had procured for the building within the same period.
Jagaba maintained that the level of work done so far at the site was not commensurate with the amount paid and directed that Julius Berger should ensure that progress was done when next the committee visits the site.
“We are here to inspect this work, but from what we see, this looks like an abandoned site. When you have N9.4 billion, one would have expected that the level of work would be around 70 percent. Henceforth, we will only ensure releases base on performance. We want to see your report in the next two weeks, including the results of your consultants’ inspection of the equipment,” the lawmaker ordered.
Meanwhile, chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde, informed the committee that his commission got the sum of $705,575 for training from GIABA which is an institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) responsible for facilitating the adoption and implementation of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Financing of Terrorism (CFT) in West Africa.
He noted that in the 2013 budget, EFCC got N3 billion out of the N3.112 billion appropriated for capital budget; N4.353 billion out of N5.804 appropriated for personnel cost and N1.058 billion out of N1.451 billion approved for overhead.
He maintained that commission faces challenges in terms of budgetary allocations, adding that they were “currently exploring the possibility of applying for a supplementary budget before the year runs out.”
The anti graft boss appealed to the committee to be considerate in reviewing the commission’s 2014 budget.