The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Friday, revoked the termination of contract for the printing of tricycle (Keke) operation tickets by the Commissioner for Transport and Petroleum Resources, Orman Esin, the contract which was awarded to Finger Print Consulting Firm by his (Esin’s) predecessor.
Mr. Esin was also warned to respect the earlier resolutions of maintaining status quo in the transport sector reached in the last meeting between the house of assembly committee on works and transport and stakeholders in the transport sector of the state.
Speaking at a meeting between the transport ministry, consultants working for the ministry, and the House committee on works and transport, the chairman of the committee, Idongesit Ituen, expressed displeasure over the termination of contract awarded to Finger Print Consulting Firm.
Ituen said that his committee, as a representative of the whole House, is bounded by rules and regulations which must be respected by all.
Ituen said, “Whatsoever we are trying to do is aimed at ensuring peace in the state. We’ve received more than seventeen petitions but we would not have time to consider them since the commissioner is not here.
“When I met with the Governor (Udom Emmanuel) this (Friday) morning, he told me he wants peace and we must ensure there is peace.”
The Commissioner for Transport and Petroleum Resources, Orman Esin, last week, terminated the contract awarded to Finger Print Consulting Firm for the printing of Keke tickets by the state government despite treaties by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly that the commissioner should not take action until issues brought before the it by various stakeholders in the sector are resolved.
In his reaction, the member representing Eket State Constituency, David Lawrence, questioned why Commissioner Esin would be stiff-necked despite the resolutions that the current contract agreement be maintained till the House resolves all pending issues.
Mr. Lawrence wondered whether Esin’s outright disobedience to the resolutions of the Committee was a call for war or lack of respect to the House of Assembly and urged the Chairman to make a pronouncement that will compel the commissioner to obey the earlier resolutions.
Lawrence said, “I don’t know why the ministry is trying to undermine the committee and creating confusion. The ministry should allow the House to do its work.”
The House committee further directed its clerk to communicate the earlier resolutions to the commissioner and other stakeholders in the transport sector which the Chairman, Idongesit Ituen, said must be maintained.
At an earlier meeting between the assembly committee on works and transports, the ministry of transport, contractors and stakeholders in the transport sector in March, the Public Relations Officer of Finger Print Consulting Firm, Godspower Udofia, had accused Mr. Orman Esin of using his kinsmen to execute the proposed memorandum of understanding (MoU) without any agreement by consulting firms.
Swiftly reacting to the allegation, the Chairman House Committee on Works and Transport, Mr. Idongesit Ituen, had warned the commissioner to stay action on the implementation of the proposed MoU until parties involved agree.
In his statement, the Public Relations Officer, Road levy Implementation Committee, Unyime Essien, also accused the commissioner for appointing new consultants to handle collection of road levy based on Senatorial Districts and alleged fraud by the VIO unit of the ministry.
The Commissioner however denied the allegation but when confronted with an appointment letter issued by him to somebody to monitor the collection of road levies within Eket Senatorial District, he said that it was the duty of government to monitor the consultant, but refused to reply to the question whether the person he appointed was a staff of the ministry.
In his presentation, the representative of TEON System Limited, Lawrence Egogo, decried the deduction of the company’s financial benefit from 35 percent to ten percent by the commissioner, adding that the company got the job through a competitive bidding process with huge investment carried out to provide good services.
Mr Egogo who noted that the company was into the business for only six months said if what was earlier agreed on MoU was ten percent the company would not have carried out the contract.
Teon system limited whose contract areas involve issuance of road worthiness, commercial permits, bio-metrics (data) capturing for private and commercial vehicles, tricycles and their operators in the state, outrightly accused Head, Land Transport, Joseph Akpanebong, and the Administrative Officer, Francis Anselem Etuk, both of Ministry of Transport and Petroleum Resources of fraud and forging certificate of road worthiness to members of the public.
He also informed the committee that Engr. Akpanebong of unilaterally altering the standard price list for collection of revenue in the state without consulting with the state consultants and other stakeholders in revenue matters in the state, which he said had caused a protest among keke operators in the state.