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We’re investigating Procurement Act breaches – FG

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…vows to prosecute defaulters
… orders full compliance
… Jail term awaits defaulters – Magu

By Emmanuel Elebeke

The Federal Government says it has ordered the EFCC and ICPC to investigate cases of infractions which is against the Public Procurement Act (PPA), 2007, with the hope of punishing any civil servant found to have colluded with contractors to subvert the rules of the Act.

Boss Mustapha

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha dropped the hint at the weekend in Abuja at the 2018 Procurement Retreat for Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Federal Government agencies and parastatals.

He vowed that any CEO found to have conspired with contractors to sideline the procurement process and procedures contrary to the Act would be dealt with.

‘‘The ICPC and the EFCC are currently investigating cases of infractions which is against the Public Procurement Act (PPA), 2007, with the hope of punishing any civil servant found to have colluded with contractors to subvert the rules of the Act.

‘‘Any CEO who defaults or collude with contractors or found to sideline the procurement process and procedure, there acting contrary to the provisions of the PPA, 2007 would be sanction,’’ He said.

The SGF, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary for General Services in the Office of the SGF Olusegun Adekunle, also said the federal government has ordered all its agencies and parastatals to adhere strictly to the 2007 Procurement Act in contracting projects.

The retreat was organised by the Bureaus of Public Procurement (BPP) in conjunction with the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation entitled: Public Procurement for Sustainable National Development.

Mustapha said that the CEOs of the parastatals being the Accounting Officers of implementing agencies have crucial role to play in national infrastructure development, building skills and competencies that are critical for the execution of transparent and efficient public procurement that guarantees good value for money.

He warned the CEOs not to do business with any government contractor without proper registration on the national database hosted by the BPP, adding that every government agency must henceforth have a full-fledged procurement department manned by BPP trained and certified officers.

He also urged them to liaise with their supervisory ministers to ensure that compliance with the provisions of the public procurement Act 2007.

‘‘Every government agency must avail itself with the BPP training programmes both at the BPP Training Centre in Abuja and other Public Procurement Research Centres in the Universities by the Bureau. The MDAs are directed to patronise only BPP accredited firms.

‘‘Every government agency must comply with SGF Circular on procurement plans and procurement records. Government will not hesitate to deal with any erring agencies that are yet to submit their procurement plans and procurement records of the previous year and the current year (2017-2018) respectively,

‘‘It is mandatory for every government to use the public procurement documents as authorized by the BPP, such as the Standard Bidding Documents (SBDs) and other BPP documents.

All agencies must de-emphasis the use of selective tendering methods as the norm rather than the Open Competitive methods as prescribed by the PPA, 2007.

‘‘Agencies must ensure that they have the final engineering design for any project to reduce the high rate of fluctuations and variations.

‘‘Government is in the process of implementing E-Government process that will help to prevent corruption. Accounting Officers are not only responsible for compliance with the provisions of the Act by their respective MDAs but also liable in person for the breach or contravention of the provisions of the Act and all extant regulations on procurement. Accounting Officers must adhere strictly to the approved threshold and avoid contract splitting which is a punishable offence under Public Procurement Act, 2007.’’

In her goodwill message, the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita said a good procurement process is critical to transparent and good procurement processes.

She said officers must stand firm and commit to play by the rules for a more efficient, transparent and cost effective contracting and execution of projects, urging them to be very thorough in applying the rules with high sense of responsibility.

Oyo-Ita, who was represented at the occasion by the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Head of Service, Mr. Ndubuisi Osuji said the retreat would serve as a launch pad for budget implementation and growth process, adding that it would rekindle the public confidence in the BPP.

In his own remarks, the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu warned all public and civil servants, especially, the heads of government agencies to adhere strictly to the 2007 Procurement Act in award of contracts and procurement processes or risk jail sentence.

He vowed to step up the anti-corruption fight in Nigeria, saying that the fight has come to stay and cannot be stopped by anybody.

Magu, who spoke, at the Public Procurement retreat for Chief Executive Officers/Accounting Officers of parastatals and agencies of government on Saturday in Abuja, said the agency remains undaunting in fighting corruption to a standstill in the face of so many adversities facing the agency.

“It has come to our knowledge that heads of public officers try to steal from public coffers through the procurement processes.

“For us everybody has a duty to fight corruption. I want to warn that only strict adherence to 2007 Procurement Act will save you from jail term.”

Continuing, the anti-graft Caesar said: “Nothing will stop us in the fight against corruption, nothing. I say nothing, nothing at all.

“Nobody, nobody can stop the fight, it has come to stay and we are determined.

“We are unrelenting in the face of serious adversity. Nothing can stop us.

“Even though, corruption is fighting back, we will continue to fight and we will win at the end of the day, because we are not fighting corruption as an individual. Every Nigerian should join in the fight against corruption.”

He appealed to all Nigerians to join hands with the EFCC to win the war against corruption, insisting that the war would be won.

“The appeal is that we want to mobilize everybody, the best strategy in fighting corruption is to bring everybody on board and I am telling you, we will succeed. No doubt about that,” he added.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Director General of Bureau of Public Procurement, Mamman Ahmadu said the retreat was organised in line with ongoing reforms for the purpose of efficiency, transparency, accountability and value for money in the entire process.

He said Nigeria’s status, as a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) makes it imperative that all hands must be on deck to see that Nigeria escapes from the throes of corruption, which is often perpetrated on the heels of public procurement activities.

He expressed hope that the gathering would address and resolve the inadequacies in the procurement process and galvanise into more efficiency in the entire reform process.

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