Senate probes BPP over alleged N2.4b contract inflation

Senator Dino Melaye (APC - Kogi) PHOTO: TWITTER/NIGERIAN SENATE

Senator Dino Melaye (APC – Kogi) PHOTO: TWITTER/NIGERIAN SENATE

Panel faults report on judges salaries

The Senate yesterday mandated its committee on public procurement to carry out comprehensive investigation into alleged contracts scam and inflation in excess of N2.4 billion above approved contracts sums.

Adopting a motion sponsored by Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West) titled: “Irregularities in the awards of contracts by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), he alleged that BPP went beyond its mandates in the approval of contracts awards by the ministry by not only inflating some of the contract sum but also re-awarded them to different companies.

According to him, BPP in contravention of the Public Procurement Act went beyond its mandate to award contracts to companies not recommended by the procuring entity.

He said: “For instance, the procuring entity recommended Deux Project Ltd for the rehabilitation of Numan-Jalingo Road for N11.7billion; the BPP awarded the contract to Rock Bridge Construction Ltd at N12.8 billion which is N1.1billion in excess.

“While the ministry of works recommended the rehabilitation of Nenwe-Nomhe-Nburubu Nara road project to Don Machris Global Resources Ltd at N5.1billion, the BPP awarded it to Arab Contractors Nigeria Ltd at N6.4billion in excess of N1.3billion.”

He noted that the recommended contract sums by the Ministry already high, ought to have been ordinarily reviewed downward, but BPP by its action reviewed them upward and subsequently awarded them to companies not recommended by the procuring entity in flagrant violation of section 19 of the Public Procurement Act.

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu who seconded Melaye’s motion said any committee assigned to look into the allegation should do a thorough job in finding out details of infractions between the Ministry and BPP as far as the contracts were concerned.

He added that our procurement process needs to be sensitive to our seasons and cautioned that the investigation should not be allowed to disrupt ongoing contract execution.

Also, Senator Barnabas Gemade (APC Benue North East) said the matter is very technical and must be handled by the committee very thoroughly and technically.

Senate President Bukola Saraki stressed that the committee must urgently carry out the investigation and report back within a week.

Also, the Chairman Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator David Umaru (APC, Niger East) yesterday faulted the report that federal judges were being owed four months salary arrears.

Umaru told the Senate during plenary that salaries of judges have been paid up-to-date.

Senate had last week asked its committees on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters and Finance chaired by Senator John Enoh (PDP, Cross River Central) to probe the alleged non-payment of judges for four months, following a Point of Order moved by Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah (APC, Kebbi South).

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