Contract fraud: Group petitions Presidency; threatens lawsuit against border company


An anti-corruption group, the Council on African Security and Development (CASADE) has petitioned the Presidency demanding a halt to the procurement course of in direction of the award of a number of contracts by the Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA).

The shortlisting of potential contractors was discovered to have ignored key procurement rules and procedures revealed by the company.

The group, in a petition dated January 14, 2019, by its assistant director, Okechukwu Effoduh, to the Director General, Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), stated it will not hesitate to sue the BCDA if steps aren’t taken to stop the award of the contracts subsequent week.

“If acceptable action just isn’t taken on or before January 25, 2019, we will likely be compelled to file a lawsuit against the BPP and the BCDA for a judicial overview of the flawed procurement course of on the BCDA. We may also be compelled to amplify our complaints in all forms of media,” the group stated within the petition.

A duplicate of the petition was obtained by PREMIUM TIMES on Monday in Abuja.

The petition by the anti-corruption group criticized the BCDA following an exclusive report by PREMIUM TIMES detailing massive contract procurement irregularities uncovered in the agency.

BDCA AND BID GUIDELINES

The federal interventionist company established in 2003 to develop the nation’s border communities, has President Buhari’s son-in-law, Junaid Abdullahi, as government secretary.

The company has the mandate to offer social and infrastructural facilities to worldwide border communities in 21 states of the federation, spanning over 105 local government areas.

Although the invitation-to-tender commercial revealed on July 29, 2018, known as for bids from potential skilled and competent contractors/suppliers for nearly 400 self-enrichment tasks by lawmakers, findings confirmed many of the companies shortlisted didn’t meet the accepted pointers.

Some of the rules included submission of bids accompanied with a three-year monetary audit report and tax clearance certificates validated by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), with a cumulative common annual turnover of a minimal of N50million for the interval 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Also, potential bidders have been requested to submit current Industrial Training Fund (ITF) compliance certificates and Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) compliance certificates, all legitimate until December 31, 2018; proof of registration on the National Database of Federal Contractors, Consultants and repair suppliers or legitimate certification by the BPP.

The director normal, Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, informed PREMIUM TIMES in Abuja on Wednesday these paperwork are “statutory necessities under the procurement legislation for all individuals bidding for government contracts.”

However, an evaluation of a trove of procurement paperwork on the controversial contract confirmed that almost all of the companies shortlisted by the BCDA submitted irregular bids not accompanied by each proof of current Pension Compliance Certificate (PCC) and the Company Incomes Tax Clearance Certificates.

A technical bid analysis listing of 988 pre-qualified companies under the 2018 constituency tasks revealed that about 815 of the prequalified or shortlisted bids (representing over 83 %) failed to satisfy at the very least one or the 2 key standards that outline the minimal threshold specified within the bid pointers.

FRAUD DISHEARTENING

The anti-corruption group described the BCDA’s dealing with of the train as “a disheartening violation of the nation’s procurement legislation, as certified bidders have been disqualified, whereas others shortlisted have been clearly ineligible to be awarded jobs by the federal government.

“Clearly, the action of BCDA is a menace to President Muhammadu Buhari’s integrity, anti-corruption posture and drive to increase income.

“It is a transparent violation of the Public Procurement Act 2007, which established the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) because the regulatory authority for the monitoring and oversight of public procurement in Nigeria.”

Besides, the group stated the action by the BCDA is also a menace to the income drive of the Federal Ministry of Finance and the FIRS on the one hand, and different income producing companies just like the Industrial Training Fund, National Social Insurance Trust Fund, Pension Commission and the Corporate Affairs Commission.

“While the FIRS is asking on companies to pay taxes and sanctioning tax defaulters, the BCDA is encouraging companies to not pay taxes and rewarding tax defaulters. The BCDA is about to spend about N18,188,942,647 on the Zonal Intervention Projects, out of which about N9,094,471,323 has already been launched to the company,” the group stated.

While accusing the BPP of failing to carefully monitor the method, the group famous that under the BPP Act, considered one of its key duties is the “enforcement of truthful, aggressive, clear, value-for-money requirements and practices for the procurement and disposal of public property.”

The group urged the BCDA to award the contracts to solely these companies that met the prequalification necessities primarily based on the procurement course of advertised within the Federal Tenders Journal of Monday, July 30 to August 5, 2018.

PRESIDENCY SHOULD ACT

Mr Effoduh stated having waited for over 27 days because the petition was submitted to BPP with out response, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Itse Sagay, ought to act on their warning that the government won’t tolerate any of its companies and regulators to maintain corruption within the system.

“This is already a violation of the BPP Act and the Freedom of Information Act which responses are necessary inside 14 days,” he stated.

The petition by the group is the second in every week from totally different teams and people calling on the Federal Government to halt the award of the multi-billion Naira contracts under the 2018 zonal intervention tasks for lawmakers.

On Tuesday, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, also asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC), to launch an investigation against the BDCA.

Mr Abubakar made the call in an announcement despatched to PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday by his particular assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu.

Also, in his response to the report, a former director-general of the Bureau for Public Sector Reform, Joe Abah, informed PREMIUM TIMES in Abuja on Wednesday the related government companies ought to look into the matter instantly.

“It is a transparent breach of the general public procurement guidelines. It needs to be taken up by the related government our bodies,” he stated.

A senior Federal Ministry of Finance official conversant in the matter informed our reporter that the BDCA is one the quite a few conduits members of the National Assembly discovered as keen allies to funnel proceeds from over 6,000 tasks illegally launched into the 2018 funds.

The official requested to not be named to keep away from victimization.





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