June 3, 2020

N2.2bn spent on the renovation of Imo Concorde Hotel ― Witness

N2.2bn spent on the renovation of Imo Concorde Hotel ― Witness

By Chidi Nkwopara – Owerri

The Judicial Commission of Inquiry on Contracts, sitting in Owerri, was told that the renovation of Imo Concorde Hotel cost N2.2 billion.

The commission was also told that the sum of N24 million was spent on interior decoration of Imo State Governor’s Lodge.

The Managing Director of Kingseoul Investment Limited, Chief Kingsley Onyegbule, who disclosed this, while answering questions from the witness box, however, affirmed that he was neither given any contract award letter nor a certificate of completion for any of the projects.

“I handled the interior decoration of the Governor’s Lodge for N24 million. I also renovated Imo Concorde Hotel, Owerri, at a cost of N2.2 billion. If I knew that a day like this will come, I would have insisted on getting my contract award letters and every other job relating to all the jobs I did”, Onyegbule lamented.

Answering a question on the Oguta Motor Park, Chief Onyegbule said he sent in a bill of N550 million but was only paid a little above N360 million.

While saying that he never checked if any company was given the contract for the renovation of Concorde Hotel before he started work, Chief Onyegbule, however, said that he will be surprised to hear that the sum of N1.7 billion had earlier been paid out for the renovation of the same hotel by Imo State Government.

Under cross-examination by the commission, Onyegbule affirmed that although he owns the engineering firm, he is not a professional engineer.

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“My company did erosion control job in Owerri, which was supervised by a Korean engineer. I am not sure that he was a Nigerian registered engineer”, Onyegbule said.

The witness rolled out the jobs he did for the government, which included the new State Police Headquarters, Nigeria Prisons Headquarters, and the High Rise Building.

His words: “There were no formal letter of award for the Police Headquarters, but what guided me was the bill of quantities. This job was above N290 million, but it was brought down to about N220 million.

“I had no contract agreement with the government in respect of the State Prisons Headquarters. I was not given any certificate of completion.”

He appeared shocked when the commission told him that the record available to them showed only three projects linked to his company.

“My Lord, I will not be surprised to hear that apart from the solar street light in Owerri, the Amaraku-Anara road, and the Oguta Motor Park, there is no other record to show that Kingseoul was awarded any other job by the state government”, Onyegbule said.

Hearing continues.

Vanguard News Nigeria.