President Goodluck Jonathan recently summoned the Vice President Namadi Sambo over the N9billion variation on the contract sum for his new official residence.
The project which was originally planned to cost N7billion, was said to have received a request for the approval of the National Assembly for an additional N9billion for the purpose of providing furniture, fence, two protocol guest houses, a banquet hall and security gadgets.
The Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory has already written to Julius Berger Nigeria Limited, which is constructing the mansion, to justify the increase in contract sum.
During an inspection visit to the site by the Senate Committee, the Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Adamu Ismail had said the project was awarded in 2009 at the cost of N7billion.
He said the additional N9 billion was required to provide furniture, fencing, two additional protocol guest houses, a banquet hall and other security gadgets.
Ismail said the new proposal was not included in the original scope of work being handled by Julius Berger.
The Senate Committee is insisting on investigating the reasons advanced for the variation of the contract sum.
It was gathered that the Vice-President felt personally touched that his hard-earned image was dragged into the project which is to house him and his successors.
Nevertheless, the Senate Committee is going ahead with the verification of the contract sum.
TheChairman of the Senate Committee, Senator Smart Adeyemi, said: “The issues we raised about the contract do not amount to undermining the government in any form. We are also not out to embarrass public officers or any party whatsoever.
“As part of the transformation agenda of the government, we did our bit as Senators to expose why a project conceived at N7billion would attract additional N9billion. We acted in good faith and in the interest of the public.
“It is left to the Executive to look at the issues in question and take necessary steps on the future of the contract. This committee is not a trial court but we owe this nation a duty to ensure that it has value for money on any project.”
Concerning allegations that the committee has compromised due to pressure, Adeyemi added: “We have not compromised, we have not chickened out. We have made our position known and we are going further to collate facts and figures for the public to judge.
“After we have completed our assignment, it is left to Nigerians to judge.”
The Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Adamu Ismail had Ismail told the lawmakers that the proposed additional N9 billion has been slashed to about N6 billion by the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP).
Adeyemi said either N13billion or N14 billion or N16billion for the project is indefensible in view of present realities.