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In The News: Agency headed by Buhari’s in-law caught in another massive procurement fraud

President Muhammadu Buhari’s son-in-law, Junaid Abdullahi, is the executive secretary of the federal interventionist agency established in 2003 to develop the country’s border communities.

Emerging reports has revealed that no fewer than 815 contractors were recently shortlisted by the Border Communities Development Agency (BDCA) for hundreds of constituency projects despite failing to meet federal contracting requirements, Premium Times NG has reported.

It is the second time in less than a month that the agency has been exposed for procurement irregularity.

Being shortlisted presupposes that an applicant has satisfied all criteria contained in the procurement guidelines published by a government agency for the award of contracts.

According to the newspaper, the bulk of the prequalified contractors for the 2018 intervention projects by lawmakers did not meet the most basic criteria spelt out in the invitation to tender advert released by the BDCA in August 2018.

The agency advertised nearly 400 self-enrichment projects of lawmakers for which funds were earmarked in the 2018 budget.

The Nigerian government’s anti-corruption posturing could be undermined if officials at the BDCA are allowed to go ahead with the flawed contracting process in brazen defiance of the country’s extant procurement regulations.

The value of the contracts ranges between N10 million and N200 million.

The agency has the mandate to provide social and infrastructural amenities to international border communities in 21 states of the federation, spanning over 105 local government areas.

2018 Constituency Projects

A list by a technical evaluation team constituted by the BDCA to select qualified contractors for the award of the constituency projects contracts showed that 987 bids from various contracting firms were prequalified.

The list seen by PREMIUM TIMES contained names of companies shortlisted for over 390 contract lots for the procurement and supply of various goods, works and services in various locations across the country.

The BDCA had invited bids from prospective experienced and competent contractors/suppliers. They were asked to submit bids for the projects in line with the criteria laid out clearly in the invitation-to-tender advertisement published on July 29, 2018, for the execution of the projects between late July and early August.

Bid guidelines

Submission of bids by prospective contractors was to be accompanied with a three-year tax clearance certificate validated by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), with a cumulative average annual turnover of a minimum of N50 million for the period 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Also, prospective bidders were requested to submit their current Industrial Training Fund (ITF) compliance certificate and Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) compliance certificate, all valid till December 31, 2018.

The companies were required to produce evidence of registration on the National Database of Federal Contractors, Consultants and service providers by submitting the Interim Registration Report (IRR) expiring January 1, 2019, or valid certificate issued by the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP).

Besides, submitted bids must be accompanied by the company’s audited accounts for 2015, 2016 and 2017, along with other documents attesting to their professional and technical competences.

Guidelines breaches

PREMIUM TIMES had earlier reported that BDCA procurement officials disregarded some key criteria for selection of prospective contractors, as well as some requirements for the award of contracts, in a potential violation of the Public Procurement Act (PPA) 2007.

Section 23 (1) of the PPA (2007) does not allow federal agencies or their management to manipulate procurement guidelines to favour any party during a contracting process.

The law says: “Where a procuring entity has made a decision with respect to the minimum qualification of suppliers, contractors or service providers by requesting interested persons to submit applications to prequalify, it shall set out precise criteria upon which it seeks to give consideration to the applications and in reaching a decision as to which supplier, contractor or service provider qualifies, shall apply, only the criteria set out in the prequalification documents and no more.”

Source: Premium Times NG

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