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Crisis rocks N26bn River Benue dredging bid process

By GODWIN ORITSE

THE bidding process for the dredging of the lower River Benue may have been truncated as the foreign firms involved in the selection procedure have kicked against the choice of a local firm for the job.

A local firm,  name withheld was chosen as the winner of the bid process, but Vanguard’s investigation revealed that the choice of the local firm did not go down well with some officials of the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) who have vowed to ensure that the process is canceled and re-started in favour of the foreign contractors.

It was also gathered that at the beginning of the bid process, only seven of about 13 firms that  participated were per-qualified and five of these pre-qualified bidders were local firms  and one of them came out the most preferred bidder, a development that did not go down well with the foreign contractors and some officials of the Bureau.

Vanguard learnt that one of the foreign firms  that is opposing the process had been involved in the failed Calabar Channel dredging project.

Sources close to the National Inland Waterways  Authority (NIWA) had gone through the entire gamut of the procurement exercise and recommended one of the local firms for the job.

The source stated that immediately after the firm was selected, a no objection letter was written to the contractor, but the BPP refused to release the letter to the winner of the bid.

Officials of the BPP are of the opinion that the winner of the bid does not have the capacity to execute the N26billion River Benue dredging project.

Efforts to speak with the Director-General of BPP,  Engr Emeka Eze, was futile as he refused to pick or reply text messages sent to his phone.

However, the Ministry of Transport has warned the management of the BPP  to continue with the process and ensure that the winner of the bid is given the job.

The firm Vanguard further learnt had boasted to NIWA to hold on the the mobilization fee until 20 per cent of the job is done.


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