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Investigate UNICAL Management over alleged N3 billion scam —HURIWA tells FG

By News Express on 28/08/2013

Views: 4,204

A civil society group, the Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has dragged the management of the University of Calabar (UNICAL), Cross River State, to the Federal Government, demanding investigation over an alleged N3 billion contract scam perpetrated by the school authorities.

HURIWA also faulted the UNICAL Management for failing to invite credible accredited non-governmental organisations to serve as observers of the procurement award processes, alleging that the school authorities violated the extant provision of the Bureau of Public Procurement Act of 2007 (BPP ACT).

In a letter entitled “N3 Billion alleged contract scam in UNICAL and call for investigation,” HURIWA through the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, urged the Minister of State for Education, Barrister Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, to institute a probe panel to unravel the veracity or otherwise of the allegations against the UNICAL Management.

Said HURIWA in the letter: “We hereby write you this position paper as a member of the school of credible civil society organizations accredited by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to observe procurement processes in all parts of the federation in compliance with part v, section 19[b] of the BPP Act of 2007.

“Sir, we write with specific reference to an ongoing procurement mechanism at the University of Calabar as disclosed in a recent advertorial published in The Nation newspaper of Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013; volume 18; Number 2467 titled; ‘Pre-qualification of contractors for the procurement of various works in the university’, which was endorsed on behalf of the University of Calabar by the Registrar and Secretary of Council – Dr. (Mrs.) Julia D. Omang.

“Based on information gathered from competent sources, Sir, we strongly believe that some qualified contractors with credible credentials of transparency, accountability and zero-tolerance to corruption were carefully schemed out of the process with the subterranean objective of awarding these sets of contracts totaling over N3 Billion to allegedly fictitious companies said to be fronting for key stakeholders in the management of the University of Calabar. Sir, this process of pre-qualification was also not monitored by accredited observers in line with the extant statute concerning procurement process.

“Sir, for purposes of illustration, competent sources informed us that such good and credible companies with traceable track records of professional competence and adherence to contractual terms such as IGWET CONTRACTORS NIGERIA LIMITED, among others, were surreptitiously denied pre-qualification based on very nebulous grounds such as lack of Certificate of Compliance of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF).

“This particular claim for denying the said company pre-qualification is false since evidence abound of the presentation of all material document and information to the management of University of Calabar by Igwet contractors limited and duly acknowledged by the authority of University of Calabar and we are in receipt based on freedom of information request of some photocopies of these material information.”

“Sir, we have it on good authority that the said credible company (IGWET CONTRACTORS LIMITED) tendered for lot 5 and complied substantially and totally with the pre-qualification requirements as specified in section 15.0 of the advertorial (aforementioned).

Besides, the company’s profoundly formidable profile among other equally credible companies were presented in compliance with the modus operandi as advertised by the University of Calabar but for no justifiable reason other than the well orchestrated design by the municipal powers -that- be in that academic institution to undermine due process, the said company was not listed on August 16th 2013 among the pre-qualified companies even when it was qualified.”

“Sir, as human rights non-state actors concerned about the institutionalization of the principle of transparency and openness in the procurement process, we believe that what the University of Calabar has done amounted to grave breach of well known principle of equity and social justice and ought to be redressed by the higher authority to demonstrate to the World that President Jonathan indeed means business with the ongoing fight against all manifestations of corrupt practices.

“Sir, we are aware that recently, President Jonathan promised to do whatever he can using the due process of the law to right the institutional wrongs associated with public procurement which is the key contributor to the widespread corruption in Nigeria. We hereby request the following;

*That your good offices order the cancellation of this allegedly shady pre-qualification bidding process and direct that a transparent conduct of this specific bidding process be held forthwith so that all companies that meet pre-qualification requirements are afforded equal opportunity; and

*Ensure that all the bidding processes are observed by Independent and credible monitors in compliance with extant provisions of the Bureau of public procurement Act of 2007.”

Photo shows UNICL Vice Chancellor, Prof. James Epoke.

Source News Express

Posted 28/08/2013 11:54:21 PM





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