Members of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly Committee on Works and Transport, on Friday 12 May, 2017, revoked the termination of contract by Commissioner for Transport and Petroleum Resources Mr. Orman Esin awarded to Finger Print Consulting Firm by his predecessor, warning him to respect the earlier resolutions of the committee’s last meeting with stakeholders in the sector.
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, Mr. Idongesit Ituen expressed displeasure over the termination of contract awarded to Finger Print Consulting Firm, adding that the committee, as the representative of the whole House, is bounded by rules and regulations which must be respected by all.
“Whatsoever we are trying to do is aimed at ensuring peace in the state. We’ve received more than 17 petitions but we wouldn’t have time to consider them since the commissioner is not here.
“When I met with the Governor this morning, he told me he wants peace and we must ensure there is peace.”
It would be recalled that last week, the Commissioner for Transport and Petroleum Resources, Mr. Orman Esin had 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 that the commissioner should not take action until issues brought before the House by various stakeholders in the sector are resolved.
In his reaction, member representing Eket state constituency Mr. David Lawrence who is also the committee member, questioned why the Commissioner should be stiff-necked despite the resolutions that the current contract agreement be maintained till the House resolves all pending issues.
Mr. Lawrence wondered whether Orman 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 Commissioner obey the earlier resolutions.
According to him, “I don’t know why the ministry is trying to undermine the committee and creating confusion. The ministry should allow the house do its work.”
The Committee, on Thursday directed the Clerk of the House to communicate the earlier resolutions of the Committee which the Chairman, Mr. Idongesit Ituen said mist be maintained.
It can also be recalled that during a meeting between the Ministry, contractors and stakeholders in the transport sector with the House Committee on Works and Transports at the State House of Assembly complex on Wednesday 8 March, 2017, the Public Relations Officer Finger Print Consulting Firm, Mr. Godspower Udofia had accused the Commissioner for Transport and Petroleum Resources Mr. Orman Esin for using his kinsmen to execute the proposed MoU without any agreement by consulting firms.
Swiftly reacting to the allegation, the Chairman House Committee on Works and Transport Mr. Idongesit Ituen 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 Mr. Unyime Esin 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 Engr. 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.
Engr. 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 Engr. Joseph Akpanebong and the Administrative Officer Mr. 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.