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2 Jun 2018

Obaseki vows to recover funds from EDSOPADEC contractors

Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has vowed to recover funds from contractors found to have abandoned projects awarded to them by the Edo State Oil and Gas Producing Areas Development Commission (EDSOPADEC).
Governor Obaseki said he would not constitute a new board for the commission until he has cleaned up the system.

Obaseki said he was disappointed with the manner the commission utilized funds given to it in the last six years.

He spoke when he received the Engineering Audit of EDSOPADEC’s projects from 2011 to 2017.

The audit was done by Development Engineering Konsult Limited and EDSOPADEC is being funded by the 13% derivation fund accrued to oil producing states.

Governor Obaseki who expressed dissatisfaction with the poor handling of projects said it was discouraging that the commission failed in its mandate to utilise funds to ameliorate developmental challenges in oil producing communities.

Obaseki mandated the permanent secretaries in the state’s ministries of Infrastructure and Urban & Regional Planning, to review the audit report submitted by the Development Engineering Konsult Limited and develop a white paper thereafter.

According to him, “There is need for baseline study of the oil and gas producing communities in order to develop economic master plans for the development of the communities. The state has developed a tripartite arrangement for project execution in oil and gas producing communities, which would involve the companies, host communities and government.

“I am not happy that of the funds for projects made available to the commission only 30 percent were put to use, while similar commission at the regional level had only expended 10 per cent of funds for project execution.

“These commissions that were supposed to build alternative economies and assist oil and gas producing communities to prepare for a time when crude oil resources would be exhausted, have not done enough for the communities.

“This is unacceptable. Hence, we will not constitute new board for EDSOPADEC until we clean up the system. We will invite contractors who abandoned projects and where there is need for the contractors to return funds meant for projects we will not relent until such funds are fully recovered.

Presenting the audit report, representative of the audit firm, Engineer Sylvester Osara, said a total of 117 projects were executed and completed by EDSOPADEC in oil and gas producing communities across Orhionmwon, Ikpoba -Okha and Ovia North East local government areas.

Osara said 46 out of the 117 projects either failed or were vandalised while 44 other projects were abandoned across the three local government areas.

He called for assessment to be carried out before execution of projects to allow host communities own and maintain projects in their areas.

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