THE Consultant handling the $106 million Ilesa water project, Mrs. Tawa Williams, yesterday, alleged that the Osun State House of Assembly Committee on Water demanded a $5 million bribe from her.
She also disclosed that the state government probing the project did not study the project report before it.
Governor Ademola Adeleke had ordered a probe into the project and also suspended the consultant, requesting the return of the N75 million project vehicle in her possession.
However, the consultant, Mrs Williams, while speaking on a Western television programme in Osogbo, disclosed that the project has suffered a lot of blackmail due to her refusal to part with the money allegedly requested by the Chairman, House Committee on Water, Nasiru Olateju.
She said: “The House of Assembly members visited us in 2020 and gave us kudos, but what changed their position about us, I don’t know. Though, there were some demands on us that we can’t meet. The house is asking for $5millon and I told them we don’t have much money to give to anyone. They were asking for a takeaway bribe else they will go to the press and blackmail us that the quality of work done was not good.
“The request was not from House as a whole but House Committee on Water Supply with its chairman. I told them that I only have money to execute the project, not for a bribe. They demanded the money after the exit of Adegboyega Oyetola as the Governor.”
Efforts to reach Mr Olateju for a reaction proved abortive as he failed to answer his calls or reply to messages sent to him.
It’s an attempt to blackmail us, says Speaker
Threatening to drag the consultant to court, the Speaker of the Assembly, Mr Timothy Owoeye, yesterday, warned the consultant to withdraw allegation that the House Committee on Water Resources demanded $5million bribe from her.
The Speaker, in a statement by his spokesperson, Kunle Alabi, stated that the consultant was trying to blackmail the House for doing its legal duty.
The statement reads: “It is quite unfortunate that the consultant of Ilesa water project, Tawa Williams, has resorted to cheap blackmail in trying to cover up her incompetence, just like a drowning person who will want to cling to any available straw.
“It will be recalled that sometime in November during plenary, the Assembly had raised concerns over the poor implementation of the project and the non-execution of a $2 million treatment plant, doesn’t it defy logic and common sense that one will request for a $5million bribe on a $2million project?
“The House of Assembly under the leadership of Mr Timothy Owoeye has given Tawa Williams 24hours to retract her bribery allegation against the committee of the Assembly, her failure to do that within the said hours, the Assembly shall be forced to seek redress in court as no amount of blackmail will stop the Assembly from playing its constitutional role.
“Osun House of Assembly will never ask any agency of government or individual for any gratification before it could adequately discharge its constitutional duties.
“Williams had shown that she’s not worthy to have been handed such huge responsibility with her recent outburst of resorting to blackmail to keep afloat with her designation as the consultant of the water project.”