Somiari Isaac, the permanent secretary in the ministry of health, has alleged that Rotimi Amamechi, the former governor of Rivers state, mismanaged N9.530 billion in state funds.
Isaac speaking before a judicial commission of inquiry on Thursday, September 10.
He stated that Amaechi separately spent $30.2million and N3.49billion, totalling an estimated N9.530 billion, on the non-existent Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte Hospital.
Isaac said that the administration of the former governor had partnered Clinotech Diagnostic and Pharmaceutical Services, Inc., Canada, to build a 15-storey, 1000-bed hospital in 2008. However, no foundation was laid, the permanent secretary claimed.
Clinotech reportedly failed to honour its obligation in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) entered into by both parties in 2008.
Isaac told the commission that the MoU stipulated that while the Rivers state government holds 40% equity, Clinotech would have 60% of the investment in the specialist hospital. He further revealed that the original cost of the hospital was $98million out of which Rivers state paid $30.200 million representing 40% of its equity share upfront. However, Clinotech did not pay money in respect of its 60% shareholding.
After that, Amaechi contracted the construction of the hospital to another company, Clinotech Turnkey and Management Limited.
“I found out that the sponsors of Clinotech Turnkey and Management Limited were also the sponsors of Clinotech Diagnostic and Pharmaceutical Services Inc, Canada. So, the Rivers state government was again with the same persons that failed to deliver at the first instance.
“From the response that we got from Clinotech, they claim to have been disappointed by their foreign financiers. Clinotech did not tell us what happened to the $30.200million that was paid to them by the Rivers state government.
“The second instance was a straight forward contract in which the Rivers state government was meant to pay 20% of the total cost of the project which stood at N3.49billion. The Rivers state government awarded the contract at the cost of $150million,” Isaac said.
He added that the Rivers state government was solely the owner of the hospital in the second arrangement with Clinotech Turnkey and Management Limited.
The permanent secretary noted that Amaechi was so angry and disappointed when he visited the site at Igwuruta, in October 5, 2010, that he ordered the company to evacuate the site.
When asked by the counsel of the commission if he had visited the site, Isaac said:
“I have visited the proposed site of the Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte Specialist Hospital. I was very disappointed. I saw prefabricated buildings, containers and equipment. There is no concrete structure at the site.
“I also saw about five or six trucks that have been vandalised at the sight. Their engines, tyres or doors have been removed. I felt so sad. The destruction of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital at Old Port Township was a very wasteful exercise considering how much that have been spent on the project.”
Meanwhile, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state has announced that his administration would complete the projects started by his predecessor. He also assured local people that in line with the completion of old projects, he would start new ones.