Reps Probe MDAs, FIRS, Others Over Multi-Billion Naira Procurement | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Reps Probe MDAs, FIRS, Others Over Multi-Billion Naira Procurement

Posted: Feb 29, 2016 at 4:57 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Wole Oke, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Public Procurement at the weekend gave hint of plans by the lawmakers to investigate Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) over muliti-billion naira allegedly misappropriated under the Jonathan administration.

Oke gave the names of those to be investigated in the first phase of the investigation as Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Nigeria Energy Regulatory Commission (NERC), Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Ministry of Defence comprising the Army, Navy and Air Force,  Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Prison Service (NPS) and Nigeria Police.

Others are Nigeria Custom Service (NCS), Industrial Training Fund (ITF), National Health Insurance Scheme (NIHS), National Pension Commission (PenCom), Nigerian Oil and Gas Local Content Monitoring Board, Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN), Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing as well as National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC), among others.

Oke representing (PDP-Osun) who confirmed this in Abuja, explained that the resolution became necessary to arrest the situation and prevent future occurrences in the MDAs where trillions of naira were misappropriated.

The House chairman said that letters of invitation had been dispatched to all the affected MDAs, adding 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.

He disclosed that his committee since coming on board has discovered several ways through which the MDAs had siphoned trillions of naira into private pockets.

He said sharp practices by the MDAs such as 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 Bureau of Public Procurement officials and a host of others had been identified are punishable offences under the public Procurement Act which attract a minimum of five years imprisonment without option of fine.

Oke warned that it is not going to be business as usual in the 8th Assembly just as he noted that if things were properly done in line with the Public Procurement Act, there would 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,” he said.

To ensure adherence to due process in the award and approval of contracts, Oke emphasised the need for President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately constitute the BPP board.

“As part of the solution, 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 the MDAs to open up their books for legislative scrutiny as all the MDAs have deliberately circumvent 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,” he stated.

Again he said: “As the Chairman House Committee on public Procurement, I have submitted a Bill before the House that seeks to amend 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.”