Stealing by trick: Obaseki set to probe Oshiomhole over Benin Central hospital project

By Osas Wisdom /Kparobo Ehvwubare 
National Chairman,  All Progressive Congress, Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole is said to be in trouble following his unresolved issue between him and Governor Godwin Obaseki and as palpable sources within Edo State government House has told our Edo State correspondents that Gov. Godwin Obaseki is set to take steps to probe the contracts for the reconstruction of the Benin Central Hospital alleged to have awarded to self by Mr. Adams Oshiomhole.

The hospital was commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2016 shortly before Oshiomhole left office but the hospital has not been put to full use on account of alleged poor construction work and abysmal equipment allegedly supplied by Mr. Oshiomhole ally.

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Edo State had repeatedly claimed that the hospital was as a conduit pipe for the immediate past administration to siphon public funds into private account.

Investigations revealed on Sunday that the State government is now under pressure to set up a Commission of Enquiry to probe the project that gulped billions of naira.

The Commission of Enquiry, it was learnt, would have a mandate to ascertain if details of contracts were strictly followed, especially the quality of materials, as heavy bills are being incurred for patch up work at the hospital and determine the extent of irregularities regarding the purchase of equipment, among others.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie,
said: “Actors within the government are calling on the governor to probe the contracts in which billions of taxpayers’ money was expended on a project that was poorly executed.”

He said, “The State government will investigate allegations of fraud and irregularities with the contracting for procurement of the hospital equipment.”

The governor’s aide noted that individuals contracted to procure the hospital equipment will be called to hear their side of the story, and we will investigate their claims to unravel why the equipment are yet to be supplied denying taxpayers’ value for their money.

He said the contractors who handled the building have questions to answer including those regarding shoddy jobs done, among others.

Work is ongoing at the hospital to patch up parts of the Hospital, as parts of the facility
were poorly constructed leading to collapse of the roof in some sections of the hospital.

Recall that the hospital commenced operations few weeks ago, as residents are currently enjoying free medical services, especially radio diagnostics and CT scan.

Repair works are ongoing in some parts that were hitherto inoperable because of poor design that was not compatible with modern hospital infrastructure.

Alleged fraud in the execution of the contracts for the hospital featured prominently in the petition filed by a Benin based civil rights activist Bishop Ochei, before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC seeking the prosecution of Oshiomhole over the said project.

In the statement of claim filed by Ochei in which Oshiomhole is the second respondent, he had said:

“That the 2nd Respondent authorized and approved the diversion of N1.2 billion naira
approved for the construction of a new Accident and Emergency ward complex and
renovation of existing structures in the Central Hospital, Benin City for the payment of additional 10% advance payment to A & K Construction Limited for the construction of the Teaching Hospital of the University of Science and Technology, Uzairue (also known as Edo
State University, Iyamho, without compliance with due process and against public interest.

The Memorandum of Approval of the said diversion is attached as Exhibit “D” in the said petition.

Inside source told our correspondent that Obaseki has vowed to deal with Oshiomhole if he make any attempt to deny him of his second term ambition,  a development many described as what is currently bringing uproar between the dual.

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