By Chris Ochayi
BURUTU—Presidency, weekend, discredited the allegations made by former member of the House of Representatives, Dino Melaye, that the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs awarded fictitious contracts to the tune of N29 billion in the Niger Delta.
Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Projects Monitoring and Evaluation, Professor Sylvester Monye, who led the Presidential team on a fact-finding mission to some communities in Burutu Local Government of Areas in Delta State, said contrary to the allegations, the projects actually existed. He added that work was ongoing at the project sites.
Besides, the traditional leaders of the two communities, where the projects are sited, have commended the Federal Government for putting the projects in their communities, which they described as viable projects that will transform the lives of the people.
The projects include the Canalisation/River Training of Foupolo-Bulou Ndoro Creek in Burutu Local Government Area, awarded to First Marine &Engineering Services Limited on February 2, 2011 at the cost of N2,370,668,252.
Canalisation at Odoubou, Ogbabagbene Burutu, awarded to Ogbosite International Limited at N1, 259,233,750, and the Land Reclamation/Shoreline Protection project at Ogbobagbene, awarded at the cost of N2, 431,040,173.
All the projects are sited in communities within Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.
It would be recalled that Dino Melaye, Executive Secretary of Anti-Corruption Network, recently alleged that over N29 billion had been siphoned through a list of fictitious contracts by the ministry.
He said the contracts included land reclamation/shoreline protection and canalisation in the Niger Delta.
Dino also alleged that the ministry was involved in payments for phantom projects, over-budgeting and violation of Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, guidelines for the award of government contracts.
However, speaking on the projects sites, Professor Monye said the total cost of the three contracts put together, which is about N5 billion, was a far cry from N29 billion alleged by Melaye.