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Atiku accuses Buhari, son-in-law of corruption through BCDA

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  • …asks anti-graft agencies to probe alleged corruption
  • …Personalised attacks on Buhari uncalled for – Presidency reacts
    …Your claims spurious, unfounded, unfortunate – BCDA replies Atiku

By Anthony Ogbonna

The Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has accused President Muhammadu Buhari and the Executive Secretary, Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA), Mr. Junaid Abdullahi, of corruption by using slush funds from the agency to finance president Buhari’s campaign “to the tune of about eighteen billions of naira.”

Buhari fumes at Atiku over corruption allegations

President M Buhari and Atiku

Atiku also accused the agency of awarding illegal contracts to some companies without Tax Clearance Certificates.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday, Atiku’s Special Assistant on Public Communication, Mr. Phrank Shaibu said the All Progressives Congress (APC) -controlled federal government “has been using the Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA) headed by Buhari’s son-in-law, Mr. Junaid Abdullahi for hundreds of phony lawmakers’ constituency projects, using non-existent firms to fund Buhari’s electioneering campaign.”

He said, “in apparent move to amass funds for President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid, the BCDA procurement officials have continuously 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.”

But President Buhari, through a statement by his Special Assistant (Media and Publicity), Mallam Garba Shehu, said Atiku’s personalised attacks of him is uncalled for.

President Buhari who fumed at Atiku over the corruption allegation, however said that the PDP had, for years, been a “bastion of corruption and impunity” and that “it is difficult for them to change from their rentier way of life in the nation’s affairs.”

According Shehu, “This is an uncalled for attack on the administration that crosses the line in a democracy. A call for disobedience to government is a call to anarchy and should not be called opposition politics. “Seeing people go down as the PDP and its leaders are heading to in the elections is pitiful but to seek to bring down the roof on everyone is tragic, selfish and the height of desperation. Happily, these acts do not reflect the true feeling of citizens across the whole nation, and that is why the PDP is sinking deeper and deeper into the oblivion. They are losing memberships in droves and their campaign is just a caricature of a proper campaign. “

“It is high time Nigerians separated the chaff floating around in the air in the name of opposition from the crude and disgraceful invective being thrown personally at President Muhammadu Buhari. “The problem of the opposition is that they are not talking about solutions. Rather, each of them, led in the pack by the PDP is an expert at counting problems. That is the reason why the voting population is coming around the Buhari-led All Progressive s Congress, APC.”

Also disproving Atiku’s claims, Executive Secretary, Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA), Mr. Junaid Abdullahi, said Atiku’s claims are “spurious, unfounded and unfortunate.”

Mr. Abdullahi said, contrary to Atiku’s claims, that the evaluation and procurement processes for the 2018 Constituency projects of the agency are still ongoing and for that fact, that no contract has been awarded for the Constituency Projects and neither has any funds been released to any Contractor.

The BCDA boss, in a statement issued through the agency’s  Head, Public Affairs  & Protocol, Atarhe R. Akpohwaye–Abuh (Mrs), said “It is therefore impossible for the BCDA to have participated in the running of any campaign with slush funds from the Agency.

We wish to appeal to the public that the Agency is carrying out its mandate of providing infrastructure to border communities to the best of our ability and we will not be distracted by bad press or any campaign organization in our quest to better the lives of our rural dwellers in the border communities. We therefore remain focused, undaunted, committed and steadfast in our bid to achieve our goal.”

The statement read thus:

“This is the height of misinformation. Ordinarily, as an Agency of repute with the onerous responsibility to the Nigeria project, we would have ignored such unreasonable outburst. For one, the Agency does not want to be dragged into any political mudslinging.

Over the years, we have completed projects in every border State of the country irrespective of the political party at the helm of affairs in such State. Our commitment to duty cuts across ethnic, religious and political affiliations. We have been in existence for the last nine years strictly fulfilling our mandate and we will therefore, not be distracted by these falsehoods from the S.A on Public Communication to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Mr. Phrank Shaibu. However, to address the unfortunate and spurious accusations against the Agency, we will put the records straight and erase whatever wrong impression such falsehood has created in the minds of the general public.

The Projects referred to in the publication in question are not the core Capital Projects of the BCDA but Constituency Projects domiciled in the Agency by National Assembly members that cuts across party lines. The point the PDP presidential Campaign office and some disgruntled Contractors failed to understand is that Mr. Junaid Abdullahi was appointed and assumed duties long after the prequalification process has been concluded.

For the records, Mr. Abdullahi assumed duties on the 18th October, 2018 while these Constituency projects were advertised on the 31st July, 2018 and bids were opened on the 13th August for Expression of Interest and others opened on 10th September, 2018.

As at the date the Executive Secretary assumed office, all prequalification on the Constituency Projects had been concluded but award for contracts on Constituency Projects had not been done for some obvious reasons, funds were not released at that time, and just when funds were released after his assumption of duties, an online publication, (names withheld) came up with spurious allegations intended to undermine the procurement process of the Agency.

Based on the Premium Times publication, an NGO petitioned Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and a surveillance exercise is currently ongoing by BPP as statutorily expected of the BPP whenever petitions of that nature arise, accordingly no contract will be awarded pending the conclusion of the exercise.

The issue of unqualified companies being prequalified is to misinform the unsuspecting public of the Agency’s procurement process. The issues raised by the online media and Atiku presidential campaign spokesperson are unfounded. No company without Tax Clearance Certificate has been prequalified technically in our 2018 Constituency Projects evaluation. It is therefore appalling to read that the following companies do not have Tax Clearance Certificates.

  1. M/S SMV Nig Ltd Lot 83
  2. M/S Young Stallion Group ltd for Lot 83
  3. M/S AICON Residential Ltd Lot 84
  4. M/S Khamz Nig Ltd Lot 386
  5. M/S Bidmusdruhill Lot 386
  6. M/S Arcad Projects Ltd Lot 110
  7. M/S De Poor Shall Rich Nig Ltd Lot 281
  8. Dankoe Global Services Ltd Lot 281
  9. M/S Yalele farms Lot 315

The above companies presented three years Tax Clearance Certificates from FIRS, it is therefore expected of the Procurement Unit to carry out due diligence with FIRS before any of the above companies becomes a preferred bidder.

From all indications, the Procurement Unit of BCDA is being vilified for political reasons. The Unit has conducted its procurement exercise for 2018 professionally in accordance with the dictates of the Public Procurement Act 2007, therefore no amount of undue influence or political intimidation will make us succumb or engage in any unethical practice.

It should therefore be a huge embarrassment to the PDP Campaign office of Atiku Abubakar to make such baseless accusations without verifying their facts. Unfortunately, they quoted an online media organization which didn’t reach out to us to get the authentic position of the Agency. We had earlier sent out a rejoinder which the online media organization has since published.

For the avoidance of all doubt, the evaluation and procurement processes for the 2018 Constituency projects are still ongoing. For the fact that the procurement process has not yet been concluded, no contract has been awarded for the Constituency Projects neither has any funds been released to any Contractor.

It is therefore impossible for the BCDA to have participated in the running of any campaign with slush funds from the Agency. We wish to appeal to the public that the Agency is carrying out its mandate of providing infrastructure to border communities to the best of our ability and we will not be distracted by bad press or any campaign organization in our quest to better the lives of our rural dwellers in the border communities.

We therefore remain focused, undaunted, committed and steadfast in our bid to achieve our goal.”

 

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