The Cross River State government has suffered a loss of over N8 billion following the withdrawal of the hosting rights of the 19th National Sports Festival by the Federal Government.
The losses are as a result of several abandoned projects by contractors, unverified bills, budgeted and unbudgeted expenses on events and materials and publicity and others.
For instance, over $14 million was spent on the building of an indoor sports complex, but part of the uncompleted structure have collapsed and the building may eventually be pulled down based on structural defect as the contractor is nowhere to be found. Some equipment in containers are said to be rotting away.
Sites of many other venues for the Games have been abandoned by the contractors despite receiving 80 percent upfront payment with an agreement to get balance on completion without any variation.
Speaking with journalists in Calabar yesterday, the Chairman, Cross River State Sports Commission, Otuekong Orok Duke said: “The process of bidding for the withdrawn right started with the government of Donald Duke and finally came to fruition in regime of Governor Liyel Imoke. Unfortunately, after the expenditure of up to N8 billion, nothing happened. If you go through the vouchers and see monies expended with good intention, you will weep for Cross River. That is the level we are, and this Commission is just starting afresh to fight for the right of the people of Cross River State.
“We want to assure that not one kobo among the items that are currently here will be taken out again. We have been given mandate not to be distracted by pursuing monies that were paid in the past, but not one kobo will go out. This present government has not released any money on the projects. We will attend to all the cases in court.”
He further stated: “If you look around the stadium, you will see some containers that have Cross River State government equipment for the completion of the Sports facility in CRUTECH. The contractor for the swimming pool went to court and executed the contract (the mainbowl) at N454 million, to provide an additional one lane because we had eight before, and over N1 billion for CRUTECH. The contractor abandoned all. In the case of the swimming pool, he has been paid N420 million, remaining N34 million, but he went to court looking for variation whereas the contract clause they signed does not allow for variation.”