Rights coalition drags BPP before EFCC over approval of suspicious N190 billion contracts

Posted by News Express | 22 June 2015 | 4,096 times

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A civil rights coalition has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), requesting it to investigate the issuance of clearance to ministries by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) for the award of contracts worth N190 billion, some of them less than 24 hours before the immediate past administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan ended its tenure on May 29.

The Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) in the petition dated 19th June, 2015 and signed by its Chairman Olanrewaju Suraju listed several of the contracts, describing their hasty award and approval as ridiculous.

It quoted a June 15, 2015 Daily Trust report to the effect that BPP gave the no objection certificates for the award of multiple contracts in last minute deals covering Power (N19bn), Aviation (N1.7bn), Federal Capital Territory Authority [FCTA, (N61bn)], Works (N2.9bn)  and Water Resources (N106bn).

CSNAC also noted that BPP issued a certificate of no objection to the Ministry of Water Resources for a One Hundred and Six Billion Naira (N106bn) contract for the construction of a dam in Taraba State.

The petition reads in part: “The Ministry was on the 21st of May, further asked to seek further approval from the Federal Executive Council (FEC) which is chaired by the President. The Federal Capital Territory Authority (FCTA) got approval for Sixty-One Billion Naira (N61bn) contract for the provision of infrastructure in Jabi District comprising of Sixty-Billion Naira (N60bn) and Sewage disposal services for the Six Area Councils in Abuja at One Billion Naira (N1bn).

“According to the report, in a telephone interview, spokesman for the Bureau, Mr. Thomas Odemwingie, said: ‘BPP conducted its activities in accordance with its mandate; the period under review, the staff members were earning their salaries and whatever was done was within its mandate.’ It stated further that according to the BPP threshold published on its website, contracts for Consultancy and Non Consultancy Services worth over One Hundred Million Naira (N100m) must get the final clearance of the Federal Executive Council (FEC). For projects worth One Billion Naira (N1bn) and above they must pass through FEC. However, the bureau gave a no objection certificate of a contract worth N2.2 billion to Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) in favour of Messrs Steag Encotec Ltd without a condition attaching a condition of FEC approval.

“Whereas the clearance was given on May 28, about Twenty Four (24) hours to the expiration of the Jonathan administration, is for the extension of project consultancy services for Calabar, Egbama, Gbarain and Omoku power plants. The last FEC held by the Jonathan’s government took place on May 27.

“The Director General of BPP, Engineer Emeka Eze and one Engineer Babatunde Kuye signed the entire approval saying; ‘Having examined your request and all the documents forwarded confirm that the project has satisfied all due process requirements for issuance of a certificate of “No objection” for the award of the contract.’ On May 28, the BPP gave the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) a similar certificate to award contract for ‘project consultancy services for high voltage transmission lines and substations PC LOT 17’ to Messrs Elens Konsult/TAP. The project is expected to cost £2.2 million (N669 million) plus N199 million in local currency. On the same day, the Bureau gave the approval to NDPHC to award a contract of £1.6 million (N486 million) plus N294 million to the same company Messrs Elens Konsult/TAP. The project was for consultancy services for high voltage transmission lines and sub-stations PC: 15 and 22.

“The report also stated that on ‘May 27th, about 48 hours to the end of the Jonathan administration, the BPP also approved €2.2 million (N484 million) plus N153 million to Messrs GOPA International Energy Consultants GmbH. The contract was for project consultancy services for High Voltage Transmission Lines and Substations PC Lot 5(T).’ Also, on the same date, the NDPHC got approval for the award of $2.5 million (N490 million) plus N655 million. The company was given the approval to award the contract to Joint Venture of Messrs Oska-Jo & Partners Ltd and URS, for consultancy services for High Voltage Transmission Lines and Substations PC Lot 21-1 and 21-2.

“Furthermore, another contract was also approved for the same company on the same day. The contract which is worth $2.6 million (N600 million) plus N713 million for Consultancy Services for High Voltage Transmission Lines and Substations PC LOT 19. Similarly, another contract for $22 million (N4.3 billion) plus N2 billion was approved for award on the same day.

Daily Trust investigation showed that the contract was to be awarded to Messrs News Engineering Nigeria Ltd., for the completion of Lot 7 132/ 33 KV substation (Awka, 132/33 KV sub-station extension Alausa, 132 Kv Dc transmission Line Alausa-Oke and 132 Quadruple and double circuit from Oke Aro 330/132/33KV substation to Towers No 68 and 43 of the Existing Ikeja West- Oworonshoki 132 TX lines.

“According to the report, documents available also showed that on May 26, approval was given to the Ministry of Aviation for the award of N1.2 billion contract. The contract was in favour of Messrs Dari Investment Limited for the upgrade and rehabilitation of Kaduna International Airport. Still on May 26, the bureau gave the same Ministry approval to award a contract worth N3 billion to Messrs Interbau Construction Limited, for the upgrade and rehabilitation of terminal building at the Port Harcourt Airport.

“On May 19, the BPP cleared request by the Federal Capital Territory Administration for a contract worth N1 billion but asked it to seek FEC approval. The contract was for provision of solid waste collection and management services in six Area Councils. On the same date, the FCTA was cleared to seek approval for a contract worth N60 billion. The contract was to be awarded to Messrs Gilmor Engineering Nig. Ltd, for provision of engineering infrastructure in Jabi District.

“The report also stated that on May 7, the ministry of Aviation was asked to proceed to seek FEC approval for a contract of N467 million. The sum was for upgrade and remodelling of infrastructure in four international airports of Enugu, Kano, Abuja and Port-Harcourt. Investigations further showed that on May 15, the ministry of works was cleared for a N2.9 billion. The contract was for the rehabilitation of Osogbo-Ilesha road.

“It is rather appalling that approvals for contracts will be granted when a government was about exiting office, when it was obvious that the contracts will not be effectively and efficiently executed. It behooves the Bureau to exhibit due diligence in exercising its mandate. It is an affront on logic that the Bureau would grant approvals at that stage in the country’s administration when it could have put all activities on hold till after the transition to allow for transparency and accountability on the parts of the agencies and contractors.

“CSNAC is therefore by this petition requesting that an urgent and thorough investigation be launched into the circumstances surrounding the award of these ridiculous contracts which smack of corrupt practices and inducement, a major bane of our underdevelopment.

We hope that this matter will be given the detailed attention it deserves. Thank you in anticipation of your favorable and urgent consideration.”

•Photo shows BPP Director General, Emeka Eze.

Source: News Express

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