Corruption: Reps To Probe Multi-billion Naira Procurement Of Mdas
SAN FRANCISCO, February 28, (THEWILL) – The House of Representatives Committee on Public Procurement has revealed plans to investigate the alleged multi-billion naira misappropriation by various federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) under the immediate past administration.
According to the Chairman of the Committee, Wole Oke, some of the MDAs to be investigated in the first phase of the proposed investigation are: Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Nigeria Energy Regulatory Commission (NERC), Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Ministry of Defence – comprising the Army, Navy and Air Force, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Prison Service (NPS), and Nigerian Police.
Others include: Nigeria Custom Service (NCS), Industrial Training Fund (ITF), National Health Insurance Scheme (NIHS), National Pension Commission (PenCom), Nigerian Oil and Gas Local Content Monitoring Board, Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN), Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing as well as National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC), among others.
Oke, who confirmed this during the Committee’s meeting held at the National Assembly complex, Abuja, said the resolution became necessary in order to arrest the situation and prevent future occurrences in the MDAs where several trillions of naira had gone down the drain.
He revealed that letters of invitation had been dispatched to all the affected MDAs and vowed that all identified culprits would be handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offence Commission (ICPC) for diligent prosecution to serve as deterrent to others.
“Within the short time of the our committee coming on board we have discovered several wrong doings being perpetrated by the MDAs through which several trillions of naira had gone to private pockets,” he said.
“No respect for the Public Procurement Act, hiding of books from legislative scrutiny, lack of trained manpower, over invoicing, splitting of contracts and collusion with Bureau of Public Procurement officials and a lots sharp malpractices have been the order of the days in the MDAs which are punishable offences under the public Procurement Act that attract a minimum of five years imprisonment without an option of fine.
“It is not going to be business as usual in the 8th Assembly as emphasised by the speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara during our official inauguration, enough is enough, if things were properly done in line with the Public Procurement Act, there will be no room for the kind of the arms deal scam rocking the nation now.
“I can say it categorically that by the time we start looking into the MDAs books, the current arms scam otherwise known as Dasukigate will be a child play.
“As part of solutions, we are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency and in line with his current anti-corruption crusade constitute the National Procurement Council and compel all the MDAs to open up their books for legislative scrutiny as all the MDAs have deliberately circumvent the Procurement Act over the years without any check and balances.
“If President Buhari must realise his dream to combat corruption within government circle and public places, he must abide and adhere by the provisions of the public Procurement Act 2007, he must use the provisions as a veritable tool to fight corruption squarely in Nigeria.
“As the Chairman House Committee on public Procurement, I have submitted a Bill before the House that seeks to amend Public Procurement Act 2007 to make the President the Chairman of the National Procurement Council in place of the Minister of Finance who is also the procurer while the appointment of its Director General should be done by the President but subject to the confirmation of the National Assembly,” he added.
Story by David Oputah