The spokesman for the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) and a former commissioner in the state of Edo under the Oshiomhole government, Kassim Afegbua, defended the former governor's actions in relation to the 75% advance payment for the construction of the Specialized Hospital of It's from.
Oshiomhole was criticized for allegedly violating the state's Public Procurement Law (during his tenure), which states that any contractor working on a government project should not receive more than 25% of the advance payment upon award of a contract.
But, according to Afegbua, the 75% advance payment was made due to the fact that the equipment is state-of-the-art items and also “so that the company would not have a default in terms of manufacturing”.
“These are not items that you can buy over the counter. These are items that need to be manufactured to specifications, ”he said on Wednesday during an interview on Politics Today on Channels TV.
Afegbua further explained that Section 47 of the procurement law, however, contains some exceptions that include: “in case you pay more than 25%, there must be a written request from the company. There must also be a bank guarantee and / or an insurance title to ensure that, when you pay this amount in cash, the contractor does not leave the premises.
"So what we did as EXCO, an organ of which Governor Obaseki was an integral part, was not out of place," he said.
His comments were in response to the allegations of Andrew Emwanta, Governor Obaseki's Senior Special Adviser on Public Affairs, against the Oshimhole government.
Emwanta, who also participated in the program, had declared that not only was the 75% payment violating the law, but no equipment was delivered.
Speaking more, the SSA claimed that when President Muhammadu Buhari came to commission the hospital at the end of the Oshiomhole government, all of the hospital's equipment was contracted in Lagos.
After commissioning, according to him, the equipment was returned and the hospital was locked with a key.
“So, when I heard the former governor talk about how the place was locked, he himself locked the hospital.
“When the (new) governor arrived, the hospital was opened and we found out that there was no equipment, because when they hired this equipment from Lagos, before Oshiomhole left the government, they returned the equipment and there is no way for the government to hide such equipment. public trust because health is at the heart of all government policies, ”said Emwata.
But Afegbua denied the claims about the contracted equipment, noting that the hospital is 75% ready in terms of equipment, 100% ready in terms of structure and set to work.
He also insisted that Governor Obaseki was not only aware of the process, but was an EXCO member at the time who oversaw the execution of the payment plan.
“When we approved this contract in 2016, as a government, as EXCO, Governor Godwin Obaseki was our colleague at the time. He was an integral part of EXCO.
"He was also one of the ones who advised that it would be better for us to receive a 75% advance, so that we can meet the fluctuations that would happen imminently as a result of Naira's devaluation," he said.
According to him, “the same government, on September 18, 2018, wrote a letter of praise to Vamed (the contractors) for having fulfilled the terms of the equipment supply contract for that hospital.
"For you to now create a commission of inquiry to indict us, that means Obaseki is also indicted. If he wants to tempt us, he must also remove his immunity and join us on the dock so that we can be tried together."
Speaking further, the PDP spokesman said he believes the current government has deliberately refused to hire and train staff who would use the hospital's "sophisticated" equipment, all in an attempt to blackmail the previous government.
Meanwhile, Obaseki had assured the Judicial Commission of Inquiry earlier in the week that someone found guilty, no matter how well placed, will be called to account for his actions.
"We have taken the right measures and, if there are government resources that need to be returned, we will not hesitate to request it," he said.
"Since I took office, you haven't found that kind of violation mentioned. If people have to be prosecuted, whether civil or criminal, they will have to be prosecuted."