The #FollowTheMoney (FTM) Team examined the 2016 Federal Ministry of Water Resources’ Appropriation. It was revealed that N9.2 million ($29,677) was budgeted for the Completion, Supply, Delivery, and Installation of motorized solar powered at Umuoha Sec School, Uratta Umuoha, Isiala Ngwa, Abia State, with the implementation agency being the Anambra Imo River Basin Development Authority. This appropriation is quite timely, considering that about 6,000 community members do not have access to improved water supply. Depending on the village stream for clean water has made them prone to waterborne diseases.
We have initiated the #WaterUrattaUmuoha campaign to track the implementation of the N9.2 million. Through this campaign, we call on all concerned public and private agencies, especially the Anambra Imo River Basin Authority to uphold the public interest through accountable and transparent management of the funds that have been released to complete the borehole. We invite the public to get involved in the Campaign today. Help us follow the money to ensure that the borehole is completed for the local community members that do not have access to clean water.
DEPUTY PRINCIPAL CONFIRMED NO SOLAR PANEL WAS INSTALLED AS CLAIMED BY AIRBDA REPRESENTATIVE
The Deputy Principal of the school who witnessed the construction and rehabilitation of the project in 2012 and 2015 was also present at the meeting, he confirmed the repainting of the borehole project but denied the changing of any solar panel by the second contractor as claimed by Mr. Amanze of AIRBDA.
The Deputy Principal of the School also asserted that the painting took place at midnight which makes it hard for him to track as the school does not open at night. He insisted that the NGN 2.1 million must be retrieved back from the second contractor since no job was done.
To him, the NGN2.1m is enough to lay a ground pipe that will supply water to the community outside the school compound which the project is situated at.
FOLLOW THE MONEY CONFIRMED THE PROJECT WAS REPAINTED BY ANOTHER CONTRACTOR
Follow the Money Community Champion went to the site of the project and interviewed the authority of the school which the project is to located at, it was observed that the project although being awarded in 2012 and the main job was done, was repainted in 2015 by another contractor Saffa Art. Int’l Co. Ltd. The same contractor also extended the tap outside the school community for villagers to have access to the water but no concrete work was done by this contractor.
Follow the Money Community Reporter was of the opinion that how can a project that has been assumed to have been completed by certain contractor be repainted by another at the cost of 2.1 million Naira.
PROJECT WAS CLAIMED TO HAVE STARTED SINCE 2012 WITH NUMEROUS FLAWS BY THE IMPLEMENTATION AGENCY
Mr. Amanze, Director of Planning who is a representative of Anambra-Imo Basin Authority and the Assistant Director gave an insight on the project. According to him, the project was awarded in 2012 by Federal Ministry of Water Resources to be implemented by the Anambra Imo River Basin Development Authority at the estimated cost of NGN15 million and was awarded at NGN 14.8 million to Rein Chimie Construction Company.
Rein Chimie construction firm was mobilized to site with NGN 4.9 million, with an outstanding payment of NGN 9.2 million to complete the project. In the same 2012, the project was done to some level waiting for the final release of the funds for completion and delivery of the project, which was not released in that year.
He further revealed that in 2015, another NGN 2.1 million was released for the completion of the same project. Since the first contractor is still being owed the balance of NGN9.2 million and for the fear that the money if released to him, will be used to offset the balance and the project might not be completed.
Anambra Imo River Basin Development Authority in its discretion awarded the project completion to another contractor (Saffa Nig. Ltd) Company thereby ignoring the contractual terms with the first and former contractor (Rein Chimie construction firm).
THE TRADITIONAL RULER STRESSED THE NEED FOR COMMUNITY INPUT IN GOVERNMENT BUDGETING
The town hall meeting was kicked off with an opening speech by his Royal Highness who welcomed everyone that came for the meeting and, also piloted the presentation of the kolanut according to the tradition. The traditional ruler gave a welcome address and a keynote which dwell on attracting developmental project to the community and elected representative to consult the community for needs assessment before siting a project in the community and thanked AIRBA and other stakeholders for honoring the invitation.
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST SENT TO KEY STAKEHOLDERS
8 February 2017: Following the revelations we got from tracking the fund, we immediately sent out FOI request to AIRBDA to know what was happening to the N9.2 million for the water project and why no sort of implementation has started. Find the FOI request here.
NO SORT OF IMPLEMENTATION GOING ON AT THE WATER PROJECT SITE
4 February 2017: The FTM team embarked on an on-site visitation to Uratta-Umuoha, Abia State to assess the implementation of the N9.2 million water project. It was found out that the completion has not started.
THE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL WAS NOT AWARE OF THE N9.2m WATER PROJECT COMPLETION ON THE 2016 BUDGET
4 February 2017: “If not that I am seeing you (Follow The Money) here today, I would not have known that N9.2 million was earmarked for the borehole’s completion, in my own school”, the Principal of Umuoha Secondary School.
SO MANY PROJECTS SUCH AS THIS IN THE COMMUNITY HAVE BEEN ABANDONED
4 February 2017: “We are really interested in making sure that this project is implemented, so many projects such as this, have been abandoned. Even placing this project inside the secondary school is not ideal, as sometimes, it makes the project inaccessible by the community,” His Royal highness, Eze Ezekiel E. Enwereji