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Sunday, 19 November 2023 14:18

Blue Line Rail: ADC’s Funso Doherty Queries Sanwo-Olu’s N2.1bn Contract Award To Consultant For Loan Facilitation

The Lagos State 2023 governorship candidate of the Action Democratic Congress (ADC), Funso Doherty, has queried alleged award of N2.1 billion to a consultant for engagement of loan facilitator and adviser on LRMT Blue Line project.

Doherty, who called for scrutiny of the contract award, said the state should not be engaging consultants for this purpose at a high fixed cost.

He stated this in an open letter dated November 17, 2023, to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu titled “Open Letter on Selected Public Procurement by LASG in the Period April – September 2023”.

“This award should be scrutinized for Value-for-Money. LASG should not be engaging consultants for this purpose at a high fixed cost. If deemed necessary, a modest engagement retainer (a fraction of this amount) combined with a more substantive fee that is contingent and payable upon successful fundraising, commercial and financial close should be negotiated through a competitive selection process,” Doherty stated.

The Blue Line commenced commercial operations in September. Doherty said the operation and maintenance of the infrastructure was planned to be on a public private partnership (PPP) and asked who is performing that function currently.

According to him, N70 billion was approved for the project in 2008 and it was expected to be completed by 2011, but added that only about half of it was recently completed.

“The Blue Line was planned to be operated and maintained by a qualified and competent operator on a PPP basis. This arrangement is not in place, but train operations have started Who is performing that function presently and who will manage, operate and maintain this Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Infrastructure that is now being procured by LASG from the main contractor (CCECC) at a cost of N40bn? Is it LAMATA? If so, does it have the capacity? How are safety, efficiency, accountability and financial results being assured, monitored and reported”?

“In 2008, N70bn was approved for the Blue line and it was expected to be completed by 2011. Phase 1 of the project, Marina to Mile 2, which is approximately half of the total proposed length, has just recently commenced limited operations in 2023. The overall cost incurred so far has not been disclosed. With this award of Phase 2 by LASG to the same contractor, at a cost of N218bn, what safeguards are in place to prevent a repeat occurence?” he queried.

Doherty pointed out that Advanced Engineering Consultants (AEC) and ROM Transportation have been engaged to update the Strategic Transport and Mobility Master Plan (STMP) for Lagos Mega City Area at a cost of approximately N5.5 billion, adding that AEC is implementing multiple aspects of the project as well as designing fourth Mainland Bridge.

“However the same company, AEC is also engaged by LASG in implementing multiple aspects of the STMP They have been awarded contracts for the Bus Corridors (see below), as well as the design of the fourth Mainland Bridge. It is not good practice and is a conflict of interest to engage a participating contractor with a vested interest in specific design or implementation contracts to develop or update the master plan,” he noted.

He also alleged in the letter that N18,468,000 was awarded to the office of the chief of staff for the supply and distribution of 2,000 Noiler chicken across the local government areas and wards in the state.

The politician further alleged that another sum of N440,750,000 was awarded to the office of the Chief of Staff for the procurement of a brand new Lexus LX 600 bullet proof Sport Utility Vehicle for use in the pool of the office of chief of staff.

“It is not clear why the Office of the Chief of Staff should be engaged in supplying and distributing Chickens across the state,” he said.

“This appears excessive and is out-of-tune with both the prevailing economic circumstances and mood of the people. It should be srutinized as to the need and justification for such a vehicle purchase and also value-for-money.”

Doherty also highlighted awards to the office of the governor also deputy governor. He said: “The sum of N7,475,000 also awarded for the “replacement of the liquid fragrance in the Office of Mr Governor, Lagos house, Ikeja.

“The office of deputy governor was awarded the sum of N30,000,000 for “monthly outreach of indigent citizens by wife of the deputy governor.

“Another N30,000,000 was awarded for monthly empowerment programmes of the wife of the deputy governor.

“The sum of N2,017,840,000 was awarded for the “provision of supply items (rechargeable fans, rechargeable lights and fridge in the office of the deputy governor.”

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