Alleged N67bn fraud: Contractor threatens court action against Makinde

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An indigenous firm, ENL Consortium Limited, on Wednesday in Abuja, threatened to institute legal action against Governor of Oyo State, Mr Seyi Makinde, over an allegation that the firm jerked up a road project cost from N14 billion to N67 billion.

Consequently, the firm has issued a seven-day ultimatum to Makinde to retract the alleged malicious allegations or be prepared for a court action to seek redress.

The firm said the remarks of the governor that the road concession was jerked up from N14 billion to N67 billion and that the sum of N11 billion was earmarked for bush clearing were all attempts to damage its hard-earned reputation and scare financiers away from the project.

Addressing newsmen in Abuja, Chairman of ENL, Mr Clement Haastrup, said the governor’s claim that bush clearing alone was done for N11 billion was total falsehood.

He said he had been under pressure from families and friends to clear his name as he did not want to be derided as one of those that messed up the country.

He said, “This clearly exhibits the malicious intent in your press release. From our Bills of Quantities, bush cutting is N750.58m. But as if playing politics with governance, you deliberately quoted N11 billion as the cost of bush clearing, whereas it was clearly stated that the N11 billion covered a combination of 10 items for Bush clearing and all earthworks for the entire 32km.’

Haastrup said the firm competitively bidded with two Chinese firms for the contract before it was awarded the concession.

He added, “It is also pertinent to note that while we quoted N67 billion, two Chinese construction firms quoted N70 billion and N82.5 billion.

“By his utterances he has dented my integrity and the business name of ENL Consortium Ltd and made the project a high political risk, which would amount to a default on government side if the financiers that were ready to fund the project choose to back out.

“It is therefore in the interest of Oyo state that you let us sit down together with mutual respect to clear the air on your misconceptions and also ensure that you send the right signal to our financiers.”

ENL threatened to drag the state government to Court of Arbitration in London if the contract was revoked.

“Finally, if you cross-check your records, and compare them with mine then you will concede that your press release was damaging, I demand a rebuttal and an open apology within seven days from your government,” he added.

“Should you refuse to tender public apology on your damaging and malicious statement against my person and ENL Ltd within seven days, we will be left with no option than to seek redress in court to clear my image and that of ENL”, Haastrup threatened.