The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has thrown its weight behind the Nigerian Senate in its bid to unravel the mystery surrounding the alleged irregular award of N3 billion contracts in four phases at the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN).
While calling for immediate prosecution of any official(s) of the bank found culpable in awarding the alleged contracts, the group maintained that if the current trend by the senate committee is intensified and sustained with the cooperation of the anti-corruption agencies, stemming the tide of corruption in the various agencies and parastatals of government will not be a difficult task.
Mr. Debo Adeniran, CACOL’s Executive Chairman, in a statement signed by Tola Oresanwo, Director, Administration and Programmes, made available to newsmen, said the group received with joy the news that the Senate Public Accounts Committee (SPAC) headed by Senator Mathew Urhoghide, had summoned the former Managing Director of FMBN, Mallam Gimba Yau Kumo, to appear before it to explain the rationale behind the irregular award of the contracts in question.
CACOl recalled that the committee issued the summons following a query raised in a report by the office of the Auditor-General of the Federation (AuGF) against the FMBN.
It noted that the 2015-2018 report by the AuGF, currently under scrutiny by the senate panel, revealed that the contract was awarded in four phases and was overpaid to the tune of N3,045,391,531.97.
“Audit observed that a contract was awarded to a contractor in four phases at a total contract sum of N3,045,391,531.97,” the AuGF wrote in the query, noting however, that audit observed that the second, third and fourth phases of the contract were above the approval thresholds of the bank.
It was also observed from the examination of payment documents that the contractor was overpaid in the sum of N118,717,892.72 that resulted from irregular addition of five percent withholding tax in the bill of quantity on each of the four phases of the contract.
“Audit further observed, from physical inspection of the site that a provision of N 80, 000,000.00 was made and paid for the implementation of ‘Unified Access and Attendance System’ but the device was not working according to specifications.
“A sum of N644,040,000.00 was also provided in the bill of quantities for offshore training and other deliverables in the third and fourth phases of the contract, but there was no evidence of execution, in contravention of Financial Regulations 70.”
Adeniran noted that in reaction to the query, Ahmed Dangiwa, current Managing Director of FMBN, had said that the contract was awarded by the previous management, adding that his leadership had made effort to correct the anomalies in the contract.
The CACOL boss stressed that not satisfied with the explanation of the current managing director of the bank, the senate committee chairman had asked the former managing director of the bank to appear before the panel to offer more explanations on the contract.
Adeniran stated: “We want to commend the Senate Public Accounts Committee for questioning the award of these contracts.”
He maintained that the 1999 Constitution generally vested the legislature with the power to make laws, although this responsibility was not limited to making laws as a lot of additional responsibility, including that of oversight had also been placed upon the legislature.
Adeniran stressed that oversight functions serve a variety of purposes among which are to keep the executive establishment responsible and accountable, to promote rationality and efficiency in the formulation and administration of public policy, among others.
“We want to believe that if the current trend by the senate committee is intensified and sustained with the cooperation of the various anti corruption agencies in the country, stemming the tide of corruption in the various agencies.