House of Representatives Committee on Public Procurement has summoned the heads of Customs, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, and Pension Commission, PenCom, to appear before it over alleged violation of the Public Procurement Act.
Chairman of the committee, Wole Oke, expressed worry that the development had caused the country to lose huge sums of money over the years.
Oke listed Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS; Industrial Training Fund, ITF; Ministry of Defence (comprising Army, Navy and the Air Force); Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC; Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, and the Nigeria Prison Service, NPS, as among the first batch of invitees.
Others include: Nigeria Oil and Gas Local Content Monitoring Board; National Health Insurance Scheme, NIHS; Pension Commission; Nigeria Custom Service, NCS; Nigeria Energy Regulatory Commission, NERC; Energy Commission of Nigeria, ECN; the Nigeria Police Force, NPF; Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing; Nigeria Railway Corporation, NRC, and NAFDAC among others.
While confirming this at a committee meeting at the weekend, Oke said the action became necessary in order to arrest the situation and prevent future occurrences.
He hinted that letters of invitation had been dispatched to all the affected Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, and threatened that all identified culprits would be handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, or the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offence Commission, ICPC, for prosecution.
According to Oke, “Within the short time of our committee coming on board, we have discovered several wrong doings being perpetrated by MDAs through which several trillions of naira had gone to private pockets.
“No respect for the Public Procurement Act, hiding of books from legislative scrutiny; lack of trained manpower; over invoicing; splitting of contracts and collusion with the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, officials and lots of sharp malpractices have been the order of the day in the MDAs which are punishable offences under the Public Procurement Act and attract a minimum of five years imprisonment without an option of fine.
“It is not going to be business as usual in the eighth Assembly as emphasised by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, during our official inauguration, enough is enough. If things were properly done in line with the Public Procurement Act, there will be no room for the kind of the arms deal scam rocking the nation now. I can say it categorically that by the time we start looking into the MDAs books, the current arms scam otherwise known as Dazukigate will be a child’s play.
“As part of the solutions, we are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency and in line with his current anti-corruption crusade constitute the National Procurement Council and compel all MDAs to open up their books for legislative scrutiny, as they deliberately circumvented the Procurement Act over the years without any check and balances.
“If President Buhari must realise his dream to combat corruption within government circle and public places, he must abide and adhere by the provisions of the Public Procurement Act 2007, he must use the provisions as a veritable tool to fight corruption squarely in Nigeria.
“As the Chairman, House Committee on Public Procurement, I have submitted a Bill before the House that seeks to amend the Public Procurement Act 2007 to make the president the chairman of the National Procurement Council in place of the minister of finance who is also the procurer, while the appointment of its director-general should be done by the president but subject to the confirmation of the National Assembly.”
The committee is saddled with the responsibilities of over sighting the implementation of the Public Procurement Act; over sighting the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit; monitor the implementation of all capital projects in the Appropriation Acts and ensure that all procurement of goods and services carried out by agencies and parastatals on behalf of the federal government complies with the Procurement Act.


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