By Emman Ovuakporie
ABUJA-MEMBERS of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions yesterday threatened to get Minister of Sports, Mr Solomon Dalung arrested over alleged N30million bribery scam and his deliberate refusal to appear before the committee after seven invitations were communicated to him.
The committee chaired by Rep Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, PDP, Abia also summoned the ministry’s Permanent Secretary and Director of Procurement to appear alongside the minister to explain their roles over alleged bribery scam involving a contractor.
At the committee’s last hearing, the chairman apparently frustrated after sending several letters to the minister ordered his clerk to prepare a Bench Warrant for Dalung and two others.
But his colleagues prevailed on him to give the minister another grace till May 30 to defend the allegations levelled against him by a contractor.
The petitioner,Kingdom Human Rights Foundation, in a letter dated January 1,2017 entitled:’Public Petition Against Minister of Sports, Permanent Secretary, Director of Procurement for Corruption, Bribery and Criminal Breach of Contract,Pursuant To The Section 88(1) had alleged that:
“Our client Solbec Ltd was awarded a contract, via a contract award letter dated 27 November 2013 by the then Ministry of Youth Development(Now Federal Minstry of Sports) for the construction of a youth development centre at Ojongbodu, Oyo state.
“The total contract sum is N182,942,047.05 and the contract was duly awarded after a thorough award procurement scrutiny and selection process in line with the Procurement Act and contract agreement.
“Several attempts were made to get the 15 percent mobilisation fee but request was turned down and the contractor was advised to take a loan facility and Skye Bank obliged him N20m.
“On Sept 18, 2014 when the project got to DPC level, a job valuation of N30,159,527 was raised for payment after it was measured, investigated and verified.
“Regrettably, few days after on-site evaluation the Minister of Youth, the Permanent Secretary and Director of Procurement in the ministry acting through some senior staff in the department of procurement corruptly demanded an advanced payment of the 20 percent of the total valuated sum of N30,159,527(kickback) to enable them approve job already executed.
The petitioner further claimed that due to their client’s inability to pay the kickback, the ministry connived with Bureau for Public Procurement to issue a complaint purporting same to be from unidentified lowest responsive bidder while Solbec was the lowest responsive bidder.
“As a result of their corrupt interest in the contract, the ministry later informed us that the valuated N30,159,527 due for payment to our client would be paid to the purported new contractor(Grandeur Engineering Services Ltd).
“Consequently, in October, 2015, the ministry paid N30,159,52z total valuated sum due to our client to Grandeur Engineering Services Ltd through GT Bank account N0 0022398117.
“It was after persistent demand that Grandeur Engineering Services Ltd in November 2015,via a UBA cheque dated 23/11/2015 paid the sum of N3million out of the total ofN30,159,527 leaving a deficit of N27,159,527 and all efforts made to recover this from the ministry and Grandeur Engineering Ltd proved abortive.
The committee adjourned till May 30 for further legislative action on the issue.