After receiving over N22 billion for its services, the technical partners to the Rivers State government on the controversial Monorail project, ARCUS GIBBS Nig Ltd, has said the project was no longer tenable.
The company also disclosed that the planned commissioning of the first phase of the project in April by the immediate past administration of former governor Chibuike Amaechi was a hoax.
The revelation was made by the Managing Director of ARCUS GIBBS Nig Ltd, Wiero Viguezang, while testifying before the Justice George Omereji-led Judicial Commission of Inquiry on the sale of valued Rivers State assets by the Amaechi administration in Port Harcourt yesterday.
Viguezang said his company, which the Rivers State government engaged on March 1, 2010, to construct the multi-million Monorail project, was of the view that the project, which has gulped well over N33.9 billion, was no longer tenable, due to paucity of funds to proceed with the project.
He admitted that so far, ARCUS GIBBS Nig Ltd has received a total of N22.9bn from the Rivers State government through the Ministry of Transport since March 1, 2010.
According to him, paucity of funds and the seeming failure of the state government’s original technical and equity partners, TSI Nig Ltd, headed by the former military administrator of Rivers State, retired Brig-Gen Anthony Ukpo, to contribute its 80 per cent equity holdings, means the state cannot continue with the project.
Responding to a memo written by ARCUS GIBBS Nig Ltd to former Commissioner of Transport, Geroge Tolofari, which was tendered by the legal counsel to the commission, Dr. Zaccheus Adangor, as evidence, Viguezang admitted that his company had written the memo for a pseudo unveiling of the technically uncompleted monorail with a view to using the media to deceive anxious Rivers people.
“We actually wrote to the Ministry of Transport in January to arrange for the governor to unveil the monorail project in April for the attention and coverage of the media based on the expectation of the people of the state,” he said.
He added: “Apart from the media coverage and public attention that it was expected to generate, the monorail was not technically and commercially ready. Only Phase 1A within Phase 1 of the project was ready.”