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Contract Breach and Delayed Execution of UNIOSUN, TETFUND N200 million ‘Customised Computers’ Project

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The Osun State University is at the centre of controversies over the supply of customised computers worth N200 million to the varsity.

The project which was funded by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund was to equip the computer centre of the university with 550 “Gracetech All-in-One Desktop Computers”. 

In a letter dated 26th, October 2021, the university wrote a letter to the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, noting that despite paying the sum of  N140 million to GraceTech Technologies Limited, the organisation has failed to live up to its end of a contract for the supply of  550 Nos ‘GraceTech all in One Computers’, for its computer-based centre in Osogbo.

Contract Breach and Delayed Execution of UNIOSUN, TETFUND N200 million ‘Customised Computers’ Project 1

The institution sought that TETFUND helps to ensure that the computers are delivered.

How The Controversy Started

In a letter dated April 21st, 2021 and seen by Dataphyte, the institution awarded the contract to GraceTech Technologies Limited with the conditions that included the payment of 15% of the contract price as mobilisation which would be backed up by Advance Payment Guarantee obtained in favour of the University from a reputable bank or insurance bond from an insurance quoted company.

According to the documents, the supply of the computers was meant to be executed within four weeks from the date of the award (April 21st, 2021). However, about one year later, the contractor has failed to meet up with the terms of the contract.

Contract Breach and Delayed Execution of UNIOSUN, TETFUND N200 million ‘Customised Computers’ Project 2

Contrary to the contract terms that stipulated a 15% advanced payment for the supply and installation of the computers and against the provisions of section 35 (1) of the Public Procurement Act, the contractor was paid a 70% advance contract fee.

Contract Breach and Delayed Execution of UNIOSUN, TETFUND N200 million ‘Customised Computers’ Project 3

In a letter written on June 1st, 2021, Grace Technologies Limited wrote to the Vice-chancellor of the university seeking 70% advance payment so as to ensure “quick procurement and installation” of the computers.

Contract Breach and Delayed Execution of UNIOSUN, TETFUND N200 million ‘Customised Computers’ Project 4

The letter reads in part, “We humbly request for 70% advance payment so that when we finish we can get further payment to this end we have provided payment guarantee” the firm wrote.

Ten months after the contract awards the project has not been fully executed.

Dataphyte reached out to the chief executive officer of Grace Technologies, Olushola Akintola, he blamed the non-fulfilment of the contract details on the clearance of computers from the port. He said that the company has carried along Osun State University on the issues that have affected the installation and supply of the customised computers.

“Yes, we have a contract with the university to supply customised computers but the reason for the delay is that we have some clearing issues and we have carried along the university, we still have some money with them and when we supply, we will get the balance”, Olusola stated.

Ripples as Varsity Council Wades Into Crisis

When contacted over the phone,  the Vice-Chancellor of Osun state university, Professor Clement Adebooye who is a member of the university’s governing council, declined comments, noting that the matter was before the varsity’s governing council and as such, he cannot react to it. 

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor Anthony Kola-Olusanya, who is also a member of the varsity’s governing council, also told Dataphyte that he cannot comment on the development, as he is not authorised to comment on the issue on behalf of the university.

The Registrar of the University, Gafar Shittu told Dataphyte that the University governing council has written a letter to the contractor and has taken steps on the breach of contract.

“The governing council has written a letter to the contractor and we are taking steps on the development already” the registrar stated, confirming the controversy surrounding the supply of computers.

However, a freedom of information request on the contract sent to the university via mail did not receive a reply.

Dataphyte reached out to Tertiary Education Trust Fund, requesting information on the supply of the computers and the role the TETFUND played inclusive in the bidding process, contract award and especially as the money used for the project came from the fund. Although someone at TETFUND responded to the request for details and promised to reply with an update, no response has been given weeks later.

Contract Breach and Delayed Execution of UNIOSUN, TETFUND N200 million ‘Customised Computers’ Project 5

Speaking on the development, the Executive Director of HEDA, Olanrewaju Suraj, noted that such issues around accountability question how Tertiary Education Trust Funds are used. He also noted that the issue of accountability in the education system is of utmost importance and priority and funds released for specific purposes should be used for what they are meant for. 

Olanrewaju questioned the bidding process for the contract, noting that such an anomaly as recorded in the multi-million naira contract raises questions on the bidding process and how contractors are chosen for such supplies.

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