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Lawyer blows whistle on N46bn BPP contract scam

By Paschal Njoku, Abuja on 18/04/2017

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•BPP DG Ahmadu Mamman.
•BPP DG Ahmadu Mamman.

An Abuja based legal practitioner, Elias Olamide has petitioned the House of Representatives Committee on Public Procurement over alleged inflation of contract sum to the tune of N46 billion by some officials of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

Linked in the inflation scam are the Director General of the Bureau, Ahmadu Mamman, Engr. Ishaq Yahaya, Engr. Bello of BPP and Messrs Julius Berger of Nigeria Plc.

The petition dated April 7, 2017, written on behalf of one Yusf Abdullahi, the lawyer stated that the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing in line with provision of Section 24 of the Public Procurement Act, LFN, 2007 placed advertisement for the rehabilitation of the Abuja to Kano Federal Highway which was subdivided into three phases for a timely, efficient and effective project management.

It was however gathered that after an open competitive bid exercise and evaluation by the Tender Board of the Ministry, the bids of three contractors emerged as the lowest responsive evaluated bid and were awarded the contract for the respective phases with a prior “No Objection Certificate” by the Bureau.

According to the petition, the contract was awarded with a combine sum total of N113 billion for the three phases.

The construction was broken down as follows; Abuja – Kaduna (Phase 1), Kaduna-Zaria (Phase 2) and Zaria – Kano (Phase 3).

The three companies are C.G.C for Abuja-Kaduna highway, Messrs Arab Contractor for Kaduna – Zaria Highway and Messrs Julius Berger of Nigeria for Zaria – Kano Highway.

The petitioner alleged that “in blatant violation of the provisions of the Procurement Act, the current Director General of the Bureau, Ahmadu Mamman in dilatory conduct or criminal connivance with some of his staff namely; Engr. Ishaq Yahaya, so called Director, Compliance, Certification and Monitoring (BPP), one Engr. Bello in charge of special procurement with privilege positing and officers of Messrs Julius Berger of Nigeria Plc, without the knowledge, consent or involvement of other key Directors of the BPP conspired among themselves to set aside the legally mandatory open competitive method of procurement, painstakingly conducted and concluded by the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing as required by Section 24 of the Procurement Act and no the previous “No Objection Certificate” earlier issued in favour of the three contractors for the respective phases but issued a new “no objection certificate” in favour of Messrs Julius Berger of Nigeria Plc for an over inflated contract sum of N159 billion in excess of the combined sum totall of N113 billion for the same three phases for the same work, same design and the same length of road already evaluated for the sum of combined sum total of N113 billion”.

The petitioner further stated that the DG of BPP had claimed to be acting on a purported “order from above” to invoke the direct procurement method while over inflating the contract sum in excess of N46 billion.

“Without any fear of contradiction, the current DG of BPP, Ahmadu Mamman, cannot claim to be acting on any purported order from above to rely on direct procurement method as provided by Section 42 of the Act or an emergency procurement method as provided by Section 43 of the Act respectively let alone to over inflate the contract sum in excess of the sum of N46 billion when the pre-conditions for invoking the above sections of the Act does not exist.

“In this matter, to cancel and set aside a legally open competitive bid process painstakingly conducted and concluded by a procuring entity as well as and over inflation of the contract sum in excess of N46 billion under the disguise of a purported order is criminal, unlawful, null and void and same is not in line with the spirit behind the establishment of the Bureau.

“By Section 42(1)(a)-(f) of the Act, the pre-condition for any procuring entity to embark on direct procurement method is well enumerated and none of those conditions exist is this matter.

“In the instant case, the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing in compliance to due process carried out an open competitive bid and different contractors emerged from the different phases of the contract. The cancellation of this lawful method of procurement by the Director-General of BPP is ultra vires his powers and only shows the lack of professional depth, required skills and general knowledge of the public procurement laws by the DG who clearly lack any idea or expertise on public procurement sector in Nigeria.”

The petitioner however urged the house committee to investigate and set aside the purported no objection certificate unlawfully issued by the BPP in favour of Messrs Julius Berger of Nigeria Plc over rehabilation of the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Federal Highway and the inflated sum.

He also urged the committee to direct both the BPP and the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing to return to status quo before the illegal intervention and collusion of the DG of BPP, Engr Ishaq Yahaya, Engr Bello and Messrs Julius Berger of Nigeria Plc in awarding the contract in phases to the emerged winners as afore stated.

He also prayed the committee to investigate the petition and recommend to the appropriate Federal Government agencies for the investigation and prosecution of Ahmadu Mamman, Engr. Ishaq Yahaya, Engr. Bello and officials of Messrs Julius Berger of Nigeria Plc involved in this willful act of financial and economic terrorism against the state of Nigeria.

However, the Bureau denied any of such contract award and inflation. (Peoples Daily)

Source News Express

Posted 18/04/2017 1:40:46 PM

 

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