The House of Representatives Committee on Procurement yesterday said it would engage the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices and other financial Crimes Commission to ascertain the level of procurement breaches in Project Development Institute.
This was decided at the end of the committee’s investigation into alleged breaches of procurement process, staff victimisation and management problems in the institute.
Speaking after submissions by the BPP, the chairman of the committee, Nasir Ali Ahmed, said the acting Director-General of the institute, Fabian Okonkwo, was culpable in the violation of the Public Procurement Act 2007 by arbitrarily cancelling and awarding contracts without recourse to BPP and the laws.
“We’ll use you as an example. I don’t think any other DG has been punished before. I can assure you that every other penalty that is in the Procurement Act, you’ll face it.
“You can’t sit in your office and decide on who gets what. I’m happy that the board of PRODA is here and is listening to the rot that’s happening at the institute.
“So, we’ll refer this case to the EFCC, ICPC and the NFIU. There was a transparent process, you came in and said to hell with BPP and decided to do what you want”, he said.
Babatunde Kuye, who represented the Director-General of the Bureau for Public Procurement, Mamman Ahmadu, confirmed the alleged breaches by the acting DG of the institute, Fabian Okonkwo.
He said PRODA had in many instances awarded or canceled contracts in breach of the Procurement Act or informing the BPP as required by law.
On his part, Chairman of PRODA Board, Daniel Onje, said they stopped the contracts in national interest.
He, however, accused the acting DG of misleading the board by claiming that he had informed BPP and got approval to cancel the contracts.
PRODA Acting DG, Okonkwo, told the committee that he had written to the BPP regarding alleged illegalities in the contracts.
He later apologised for “misleading” the PRODA board on the issue.