Contracts Fraud: Senate probes Fashola, BPP

The Senate yesterday mandated its Committee on Public Procurement to investigate alleged irregularities in award of multi-billion road contracts by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

This followed the consideration and adoption of a motion on “Irregularities in the award of contracts by the BPP”, sponsored by Dino Melaye (Kogi West).

Senate President Bukola Saraki gave the committee one-week to turn in its report.

Melaye, in his lead debate, noted with concern alleged irregularities in the award of contracts by the BPP.

He said the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing requested, vide letters dated November 7 and 15, 2016, from BPP due process certificate to award contracts for 10 and 13 projects for the construction and rehabilitation of roads and bridges under the 2016 budget.

He observed that the BPP in accordance with Section 5 and 6 of the Public Procurement Act, 2007, informed the ministry there was no objection to its request but later wrote the ministry that due process certificate of ‘no objection’ cannot be granted in the award of the contracts.

Melaye noted that the BPP, in contravention of the BPP Act, went beyond its mandate to award the contracts to companies not recommended by the procuring entity.

He said for instance, “the procuring entity recommended Deux Project Limited for the rehabilitation of Numan-Jalingo road for N11.7 billion, the BPP awarded the contract to Rock Bridge Construction Ltd at N12.8 billion”.

He added that whereas the ministry recommended the rehabilitation of Nenwe-Nomeh-Nburubu-Nara road project to Don- Machris Global Resources Ltd at N5.1 billion, the BPP awarded it to Arab Contractors Nig. Ltd at N6.4 billion.

The senate said that although the recommended contract sums by the ministry were high, and ought to have been reviewed downward, the BPP reviewed the contracts upward and awarded the contracts to companies not recommended by the procuring entity in violation of Section 19 of the Public Procurement Act.

Melaye said he chose only two instances to buttress the alleged abuse of the BPP Act.

He prayed the Senate to investigate the anomaly.

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