Questions over Alleged Fraud at Ilorin Cargo Terminal Project
In 2006, N1.6billion was paid to contractors engaged by Kwara State government, under the leadership of Dr Bukola Saraki for the purpose of developing Ilorin Cargo Terminal.
The total worth of the project was N1.8billion and upon award of contracts, N1.6billion was paid as upfront payment.
However, 13years later, neither the contractors, nor the Kwara State government has done anything tangible on the project, and many have been asking what happened to the N1.6 billion paid for the project.
To unravel what happened to the project, a committee set up by Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, led by Senator Makanjuola Ajadi investigated the project and established that, Ilorin Cargo Terminal, established in 2006 is a wholly owned state government project for cargo business.
The construction of the building together with electrical infrastructure was contracted to 5 contractors and each of the contractors are to handle different components, namely (i) Cargo Terminal building (ii) Repair of Snags (iii) Floor Finishing (iv) Apron & Taxi way (v) Electrical component.
According to the report, the overall worth of the contract is N1.8billion and N1.6billion was paid upfront to the contractors, yet only less than 5% of the work has been done since 2006.
Investigation shows that, the Cargo Terminal building was given to a company named Stabilini Visioni and out of N1.2billion, which is the overall cost of the project, N1.1billion was paid to the company as upfront, which is over 90% upfront payment.
Similarly, the Floor Finishing of the Cargo Terminal project was given to a company called Albulal Limited and out of the N53.8million, which is the overall cost of the project, N48million was paid to the company as upfront, which is also over 90% upfront payment.
Furthermore, the Apron & Taxi Way of the cargo terminal project was given to another company named Duravil Engineering and out of the N370million, which is the total cost of the project, N365million was paid to the company as upfront. That is another over 90% upfront payment.
Another company called Salmal Global got the contract of electrical component and out of the N41.5million, which is the overall worth of the project, N21million was paid to the company as upfront. That is about 50% upfront payment and even the contract for the repair of snags was awarded to Duravil Engineering and out of N73.9million, which is the overall worth of the contract, N36.9m was paid to them as upfront. That is about 50% upfront payment, yet almost nothing was done by all the 5 companies.
In total, all of the 5 companies engaged to do the job got about 90% of the total contract sum as upfront payment, but did almost nothing, apart from moving few materials to the premises
10years later, precisely in 2016 after long period of desertion, it was noticed that some items at the cargo terminal building was vandalized without trace.
Even though the vandalization was reported to the security agencies at the time, no one has been arrested in connection to the vandalization, neither has any item been recovered.
Some of the items vandalized at the terminal building include, underground armored cable, cable feeder pillars of transformer, supply cables, distribution box, control box, taxiway light and cctv cameras.
At the moment, the walls of the cargo terminal building is already cracking due to abandonment and its doors are also damaged.
As it was earlier noted, about 90% of the contract sum was paid to all the 5 contractors handling the project since 2006, but 13years later, almost nothing has been done and the project has been completely abandoned.
According to available records, the project has not been sold, but it remains a mystery, how almost 90% payment would be made upfront since 2006, yet no concrete work would has been done and there is no record of what stalled the project from government record, neither was there any record of government attempt to compel the contractors to do the job they were paid for. This calls to question, whether the contractors really got the money.
As at today, the terminal is now completely abandoned and the premises over grown with dirt and weeds.
It is therefore recommended that, considering the over N1.6billion already invested in the project through upfront payment to the 5 contractors, it would be unwise to let the project go to waste. Therefore, comprehensive repair of the project should be undertaken by the government.
The 5 contractors given the project should be invited to understand why they abandoned the project despite receiving almost 90% upfront payment and going forward, the contract should be reviewed with a view to either sustain or repudiate their contract, depending on their explanation upon invitation.
Possibility of terminating the contract of all existing non-performing contractors should be considered and other viable companies may be considered.
Upon repair, a solid arrangement should be concluded on the profitability of the project with a view to recoup government investment
Prompt action should be taken to keep the premises clean and the security of the premises should be beefed up against further vandalization.
*The investigation report was provided by a social crusading group called Kwara Must Change