By Henry Umoru
THE Senate, yesterday, said it would carry out a holistic investigation into the proposed award of the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contracts of Ajaokuta- Kaduna-Kano(AKK) Gas Pipeline, totalling $2.317 billion (N834.12 billion), to the highest bidders once it discovered that due process was breached.
The Senate disclosed however that its attention had not been brought into the contract to be awarded by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, even after it had sought in a letter to the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, a Certificate of No Objection to enable it obtain the Federal Executive Council’s approval for the construction of the gas pipeline.
Speaking with Sunday Vanguard, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Procurement, Senator Joshua Dariye, APC, Plateau Central, who noted that it was early for the upper chambre to get involved in the matter, said the planned construction was presently being handled by the executive arm of government, adding that it was the responsibility of the BPP to ensure that the bidding was carried out in a transparent manner with advertisement and publications carried out in the government tenders journal.
Dariye explained that the Senate would not get involved in an executive action at the planning stage, especially when the attention of the upper chamber had not been drawn into it, saying, however, that the Senate will not hesitate to carry out its oversight function even if it would be a probe into the matter as huge amounts of money were involved once its attention was drawn into it that the process of awarding the contract was breached during the tender, bidding and pre-qualification stages.
The Senate Committee Chair said, “ The Senate doesn’t get involved in executive actions, especially at the planning stage or when projects are being proposed. It is their own responsibility and that of the Bureau for Public Procurement, BPP, to ensure that the process was carried out in a very transparent manner and to ensure that all the bidding processes were followed which include publications in the tenders journal.
“It is too early for the Senate to react. We can only come in and investigate when our attention has been brought into it or when we discover, during our oversight function, that the process was not transparent. But at the moment, let us allow the BPP to do its job. When the Senate is drawn into it, we will take action; but for now, the executive is handling the process.”
He spoke when Sunday Vanguard sought the position of the Senate on the letter from the NNPC seeking the BPPs Certificate of No Objection to enable the corporation obtain the Federal Executive Council’s approval to award the EPC of Ajaokuta- Kaduna-Kano(AKK) Gas Pipeline contract to the three most competitive tenderers of the negotiated lump sum price as follows:
Lol Ajaokuta TGS KP O – Abuja 200 length 200 km of a negotiated Lump sum of USD 727,250,000 and additional sum of USD 50,907,500 only for project Management and Engineering Consultancy Services and 2 years spare parts amounting to the total price of USD778,157,500 to cover the payment for Customs Duty, factory Acceptance Test and Training of Operation and main-tenance staff, Engineers Expenses and contingency for unforeseen works.
“(Lot2: Abuja TGS KP200- Kaduna KP 393, total length 193 km of a negotiated Lump Sum price of USD 710,150,000.00 and additional sum of USD 49,710,500.”