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BPP forwards 50 false companies to EFCC, ICPC for prosecution – Presidency

By The Citizen

The Director General of the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) Emeka Eze, today disclosed that over 50 companies names have been forwarded to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offenses Commission(ICPC) for investigation and possible prosecution over presentation of false documents to procure contracts.

Eze made the disclosure at the signing of a cooperation agreement with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

“On Friday I signed off another letter to EFCC and ICPC listing over 50 companies that tried to get government job through the use of forged document, because the use of fake document is a crime. Some people make false claim as to their capacity and then they are the people who shout the greatest and who don’t even know what a cubit  meter of concrete is, who will quote either ridiculously low then when they don’t get the job they begin to shout on top of the roof. When we have such issues we also write to FIRS and once they confirm that the tax is fake we send it to EFCC or ICPC for prosecution”.

He also disclosed that aside the companies with fake documentation some procurement staff of different MDAs are also being investigated by the ICPC.

Speaking more on the MoU with UNODC, Eze said a total sum of €34 million grant from the UNODC has been given to the anti-corruption agencies to evolve new means to prevention corruption rather than the norm of prosecution after corruption has occured.

The DG  explained that the UNODC is working with the BPP to develop an ICT framework and technology that will help conduct the procurement in all federal institutions.

Eze added that in the course of that interaction it became necessary to expand the interaction and “as part of support from UNDOC in anti-corruption there is a €34 million grant that the European Union has given to the country in support of anti-corruption agencies like Code of Conduct bureau, Code of Conduct Tribunal, EFCC, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU, ICPC, BPP, the police and the judiciary are all beneficiaries of the system”.

Eze added that “In the course of the interaction we have had with most of them, they have understood that over the years we have been paying so much attention to combating corruption in the traditional way of looking at it after the crime has been committed, we are looking at prosecution without so much attention being paid to prevention”.

He explained that prevention requires putting processes, procedure and adequate deployment of technology in place and then focusing on the human beings and get them to be on the same page.

According to him Nigeria is the first country where this system is going to be deployed before it goes global.  Following this he noted that the cooperation agreement which was signed was important since they have understood the critical importance of procurement in stopping corruption.

“Basically the signing ceremony is to kick-start the first phase of the EU support to anti-corruption agencies and the procurement reform is to further deepen procurement principally to build awareness, to train the MDAs in the use of standard billing documents and also to sensitive the actors and consultants about the rules. The rules have been set, the procedures are in place, but if you set the rules and procedures and the people who are going to use them don’t know about them then you have an issue.

“Journalists too will be trained so that when they are reporting they will also know what to look out for. All stakeholders need to be on the same page. Our goal is to have a critical mass of all Nigerians who understand the roles that will help put pressure on those of us and government to comply with the rules. And once that is done, everyone becomes a winner, the consultant, the contractor and the Nigerian public. When rules are obeyed everybody is a winner”.

Explaining more on the MoU signed, Eze said the technology involves the deployment of IT system so that people can submit their application online. “We have developed a data centre that will enables MDAs and contractors submit their application online and reduce human interface. Because as much as we reduce human interface, we can take decisions dispassionately based on the facts before you, without having to look at who owns it and who doesn’t own it.

“At our own level here we are okay, all we need to do now is to get the MDAs that will connect into the system to be on the same page. So that we have systems that can talk to each other, because if we don’t get them to know how to use it, it would have been a wasted effort and resources, that is why the involvement of the EU is important”.

The ICT data center which is on the first floor of the BPP building with a full power battery back up is being coordinated from Vienna with back up centres at four different places.