*Over alleged breach of Procurement Act *Walks out officials of DPR, Finance Ministry
ABUJA— The House of Representatives Committee on Public Procurement, yesterday, gave Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, a 24-hour notice to appear before it over alleged abuse and breach of the Procurement Act, 2007. Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi ADEOSUN The summon followed a resolution taken at the commencement of a two-day investigative hearing into allegations of abuse, breach and violation of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 in the engagement of contractors for the pre-shipment inspection and monitoring of crude oil and gas export from Nigeria.
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She is expected to appear before the committee at 10 a.m. today. The committee also walked out officials of the Finance Ministry, led by the Legal Director, Mr Gabriel Christopher, and representatives of Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, saying they were not competent enough to speak on the issues at stake. The Committee on Public Procurement, chaired by Wole Oke (PDP, Osun), is investigating allegations of abuse, breach, and violations of Public Procurement Act 2007 in the engagements of contractors for pre-shipment, inspection, and monitoriing of crude oil and gas export from Nigeria. Members of the committee, who expressed concerns over the disregard for due process, informed the new BPP Director-General, Mamman Ahmad, that any officer of the BPP convicted for breaching the procurement law shall be liable to five years imprisonment and dismissal from public service, on conviction, without option of fine. The committee via a letter dated March 8, 2017 invited the minister to furnish the committee with relevant documents as well as appear for questioning on the subject matter. While responding to inquiries from the lawmakers, Director-General of Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, who admitted that the entire procurement process was flawed, however, noted that the process should have been cancelled but for time exigencies. He queried the rationale behind the petitions sent to the Presidency by the aggrieved parties, but noted that the bureau had addressed various issues in the memo sent from the Presidency. Apparently disturbed by this development, Oke said: “Mr President directed the petitions to you. I have your memo to the Chief of Staff to the President, I also have the letter from the Acting President to you, that shows that there are issues.” On his part, Gabriel Onyenwife (APGA, Anambra), who read the riot act to the BPP Director-General, noted that the Legislative and Privilege Acts provide that anyone who gives misleading information to the Parliament on conviction risks two years jail term. The BPP was also chided for awarding three lots to three companies owned by an individual and for failing to ensure that the companies complied with extant laws and tax remittance to Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, PENCOM, ITF and other statutory agencies. At this point, DPR was invited to present its submission and the representatives announced that they had no submission to present as they were verbally invited to be part of the hearing. This angered members of the committee, who resolved that DPR representatives should leave the venue and come back today with their principals and with detailed submission that must be presented.