Senate’s subtle indictment of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawan, for alleged corruption and misapplication of Presidential Initiative for North East funds.
Contracts were awarded to 20 ghost companies and to a company in which he has had interest just before he joined government. BPP cannot detect this particular fraud neither the SGF Office’s tender board.
some 20 ghost companies got contracts worth N1.3bn.Recently a case was file by public spirited groups..seeking“A declaration that the award of contracts in March 2016 to a company where the 3rd defendant was a director, by the Presidential Initiative on the North-East amounts to a breach of constitutional provisions and Code of Conduct for public officers, provided for in Paragraph 1, Part 1 of the Fifth Schedule to the 1999 Constitution which prohibits a public officer from putting himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts with his duties and responsibilities.
“A declaration that the award of contract to Rholavison Engineering Limited, a company belonging to Mr. David Babachir Lawal, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, without following due process of the law offends the provisions of the Public Procurement Act.
“A declaration that the award of contract to Rholavison Engineering Limited, a company belonging to Mr. David Babachir Lawal, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, without following due process of the law amounts to abuse of office and offends the provisions of the Public Procurement Act and Financial Regulations Rules on award of contracts.
“A declaration that the provisions of the Federal Civil Service Rules is applicable to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and that under the Federal Civil Service Rules, a person appointed in acting capacity cannot act in such capacity for more than six months, in view of Rules 010101, 020603 and 020604 of the Federal Civil Service Rules 2008.”
..Lawal in a statement by the Director of Press and Public Relations in his Office, Bolaji Adebiyi, said the contracts in question were awarded only after the requisite clearances were obtained from the Bureau of Public Procurement.
The statement said, “First of all, the Office of the SGF observes that the headlines are at complete variance with the body of the story. Indeed, in the body of the story, Senator Shehu Sani made it clear to the reporters when he said ‘Meanwhile, you should understand that we are not investigating the SGF alone. We are investigating contracts that were awarded under the Presidential Initiative on the North-East. The implication is that PINE is really the body to answer all enquiries regarding the contract awards. Not the SGF.
“To the real and more important issue, the general public should not be misled to believe that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation has the authority or power to award contracts. This, indeed, is not the case. As with all awards of contract in government, the PINE projects under investigation went through what is referred to as due process in public expenditure.
“The contracts were awarded only after the requisite clearances were obtained from the BPP. It is expected that these clearances are obtained only when all conditions precedent to the awards of contracts are met. Apart from the BPP hurdle, the Tenders Board of the procuring agencies, in this instance, the Office of the SGF, has to approve of the contracts before they are awarded. At no time were these processes compromised in the award of contracts by PINE. It must be emphasised also, that the SGF is not even a member of the Tenders Board.”
Lawal enjoined the media to be mindful of the structure of government, the powers of the functionaries and the stringent processes and procedures that go into public sector expenditure while reporting.
He said, “The SGF despite his position in government cannot award contracts. He is not even a member of the Tenders Board. All contracts must, indeed, pass the acid test of obtaining clearance from the BPP and the scrutiny of the Tenders Board.
“PINE contracts were awarded following strict compliance with public expenditure and procurement processes. It will interest everyone to know too, that all PINE projects were properly and satisfactorily executed. The beneficiaries have continued to express their appreciation to the Federal Government for PINE intervention, that in many cases, has accelerated the return of normalcy to hitherto ravaged communities.”