A Senate panel has revealed how the Ministry of Petroleum Resources paid N718 million through its tenders board to 11 corporate organisations for different services rendered without documents.
The discovery was as a result of the 2015 Auditor General Report submitted to the Senate Committee on Public Account chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide.
The Senate panel has recommended a refund of N718.9 million to the Federation Account by the government officials involved in the award of the contracts.
The panel’s findings showed that the contract was awarded in 2014 when the former Head of Service, Danladi Kifasi, was the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
Companies listed to have benefited from the consultancies are Amho Nigeria Ltd (Contract for consultancy service on critical stakeholders workshop on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Policy Initiative at cost of N97.9million, Mimo Industrial Ltd (Contract for Consultancy Service on Project management for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Policy Framework Development) at cost of N99.4 million, Peds Global Ventures (Contract for consultancy service on surveillance and monitoring of environmental restoration) at cost of N79.4 million, Crown-Tech Services Ltd ( Contract for consultancy service on capacity building for engineers to acquire tools surveillance and monitoring of environmental restoration) at cost of N82.2 million, DayLight Engeering Nigeria Ltd, (Contract for consultancy service on survey of oil and gas production and utilization in Nigeria) at cost of N48.1 million and Redbrick Consultants Ltd (Course fees oil and gas) at contract sum of N26.6 million.
It also revealed that about five consultancy contracts were awarded on July 14, 2014 while project on training was given out on October 17, 2014 and the payment was made in the 2015 budget.
The Auditor General of the Federation, in its report, stated that no further documents regarding payments were produced despite repeated request, adding the ministry failed to produce documents explaining and supporting the genuineness of the payments.
The query read, “An expenditure entry to N718.9 million was made in the cashbook as payment to 11 corporate bodies for different services rendered.
“Surprisingly, no further documents regarding this payment were produced for audit review despite repeated request, contrary to Financial Regulation 110 which states that ‘Auditor-General or his representative shall at all reasonable times have free access to books of accounts files, safes, security documents and other records and information relating to the account of all federal ministries /extra-ministerial offices and other arms of government or units.’
“Expenditure of this magnitude without documents explaining and supporting the genuineness of these payments cannot be accepted as legitimate charges against public funds.
“The permanent secretary has been requested to produce all documents recover and pay to treasury the sum of N718.9 million being expenditure un-accounted for and furnish recovery particulars for verification. “
The Ministry of Petroleum in its written submission presented by the Permanent Secretary, Bitrus Bako Nabasu, however said, “Relevant documents were attached to facilitate raising of payment vouchers and the total amount paid to contractors was N494.1 million.”
But the Chairman of the committee, Senator Urhoghide, and representative of Auditor General of the Federation, Eyitayo Agesin, said that documents attached to the vouchers were not enough to justify payment expenditure of that magnitude.
Meanwhile, the Senate Panel on Public Account has sustained a query of mismanagement of about N20 million against the Federal Ministry of Finance.
The lawmakers decided to sustain the query after the ministry ignored series of invitations extended to it by the Auditor General of the Federation with no response.
The chairman of the committee wondered how the ministry could be avoiding invitations to give account on the money spent, adding that the committee had sent invitations to the ministry on the issue with no response.
He said the committee had no other option than to sustain the Auditor General query against the ministry.
The query read, “A contract worth N2,477,900.00 was awarded by the ministry. It was observed that the contractor submitted a quotation before the invitation to bid for the contract was approved. This is contrary to the contract process when a bidding invitation is first sent to the contractor before the quotation. Also, the contractor’s tax clearance certificate was not provided by the contractor.
“The permanent secretary has been requested to explain these lapses.
“A sum of N2,768,760.54 which is equivalent of $13,919.00 was overpaid as estacode allowances to some staff of the ministry on foreign tours. This overpayment was done as a result of transit days which were included in their estacode allowances.
“However, this is contrary to Sections 130106 – 130108 of the Public Service Rules which stipulates that such allowances are granted to enable staff pay for lodging and feeding expenses during official hours duly approved by the approving authority.
“The permanent secretary has been requested to compel all the staff involved in the irregularity to refund the excess estacode allowances to the sub-treasury and forward the receipt to my office for confirmation.
“A total amount of N16,858,800.00 cash advances granted to some staff of the ministry between October and December, 2015 were not retired, contrary to Financial Regulation 420.
“The permanent secretary has been asked to compel the affected staff to retire the cash advances without further delay or deduct the amounts from the involved staff’s salary en-bloc and furnish my office with the retirement or deduction particulars for verification.”
NADDC excited as Coscharis showcases upgraded Ford Edge
The latest edition of the Ford Edge was one of the new vehicles that dazzled and got considerable attention of visitors to the recently concluded Abuja motor fair including representative of the National Automotive Design and Development Council, NADDC, Dr Noah Omisanya.
After inspecting the Coscharis-Ford pavilion, Omisanya said, “I am thrilled by what I have seen here. However, I must state here that the NADDC will be more thrilled to have this (Ford Edge) and other fascinating automobiles assembled here in Nigeria.
“We are willing to support any automobile firm, including Coscharis Motors in the value adding venture of assembling vehicles locally in Nigeria.”
The Ford Edge was one of the major show stoppers at the event displayed at the 2021 Abuja International Motor Fair, which took place at the International Conference Centre in Abuja recently.
The upgraded Ford Edge was among other Ford variants displayed at the fair by Coscharis Motors.
Speaking during the presentation of the Edge to the audience at the fair, Abiona Babarinde, General Manager, Marketing & Corporate Communications at Coscharis Group said, “We are delighted to showcase the upgraded Ford Edge with all its innovative and fascinating features such as a 2.0 litre Ecoboost petrol engine, an 8-speed automatic transmission, dual zone climate control, intelligent access and push start button among others.
“The wait is over and our customers can now begin to enjoy this exquisite masterpiece called the Ford Edge.”
Babarinde also hinted on the steps taken by Coscharis Motors to ensure the ease of acquisition of Ford brand of vehicles.
He said, “Coscharis has made Ford vehicles more affordable with the introduction of our vehicle finance scheme. The scheme is offered with the support of our sister company, Coscharis Mobility and other credible financial institutions, including Polaris Bank and Sterling Bank, whereby prospective customers can, make an initial payment of as low as 10% of the price of any of the Ford vehicles of their choice, and drive home their dream vehicle while the balance is spread over a period of as much as 60 months.”
Other Ford variants at the fair were entry level sedan, Figo and mini SUV EcoSport.
Also lined up on display were Escape, Everest, Explorer, Ranger and the super sport car, Mustang which stood out the Coscharis – Ford brand throughout the duration of the auto fair.
Inside and out, Ford has added new features to the EDGE to deliver an even more sophisticated, modern driving experience.
Modern sophistication is what defines the EDGE. Athletic new front and rear styling reaches its ultimate expression – an exhilarating 250 horsepower of performance-enhanced pleasure. There are plenty of smart new features as well. Starting with Ford Co-Pilot360™, a suite of standard driver-assist technologies designed to help you confidently navigate your world.
Fashola: FG constructing 44 road projects with Sukuk funds
Babatunde Fashola, minister of works and housing, says 44 road projects are currently funded under the Sukuk programme.
Fashola said this on Monday at the inauguration and handing over of Phase I and II of Vandeikya-Ogbudu Cattle Ranch road in Tsua, Vandiekya LGA of Benue.
Sukuk is an Islamic liquidity management instrument used by many governments and corporations to finance big projects.
Since the establishment of the initiative in Nigeria in September 2017, the Debt Management Office (DMO) has issued three Sovereign Sukuk — 2017, 2018, and 2020.
Earlier this month, DMO said it would issue another N250 billion Sukuk to finance road projects.
Fashola said that the completed road would positively impact the lives of the host communities, commuters, and the general public.
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“These projects represent major investment in road transport infrastructure, which is a commitment of the Buhari administration as a driver for economic growth and prosperity,” NAN quoted him as saying.
“They are visible and incontrovertible assets in proof of what Nigeria’s resources are invested in from a combination of our earned resources and borrowings.
“This occasion affords another opportunity to acknowledge the impact of the Sukuk funding in the completion of Azare — Potiskum, Shuwarin — Potiskum, and Sokoto-Tambuwal-Kontagora Roads.”
According to the minister, other handing over formalities that will follow the formalities in Kebbi and Vandeikya LGA would be in Section II covering 142.2km dualisation between Shuwarin and Azare, connecting Jigawa and Bauchi states.
Others include Section III covering 106.3km dualisation between Azare and Potiskum connecting Bauchi and Yobe States, Nnewe-Uduma-Uburu road covering 26.27km with 14 km spur to Ishiagu, connecting Enugu and Ebonyi states.
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On his part, Babangida Hussaini, permanent secretary, federal ministry of works and housing, said the road was awarded to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) Nigeria Limited at the cost of N6.6 billion.
Hussani, who was represented by Rugba Emengo, highways director, north-central, said the first phase of the contract was awarded in 2012 while the second phase was awarded in 2015.
In his remarks, George Gao of CCECC assured that the road was built according to the ministry’s approved standard.
Gao said that the road, which took over seven years to build, would last for more than 30 years.
He added that the road had a pedestrian way and other related facilities such as the installation of signaling and safety systems.
NAJA ignites Nigerian auto industry, holds awards tomorrow
Auto industry players and other stakeholders have shifted their attention to the 2021 auto industry awards that will hold tomorrow Wednesday, December 1 in Lagos.
Nigeria Auto Journalists Association (NAJA) has said all is set for this year’s edition of the annual event, adding that virtually all categories of the automobile industry will be covered by the organising committee.
Chairman/founder of Elizade Group and brain behind Toyota Nigeria Limited, Michael Ade.Ojo, is expected to be honoured as the ‘Pillar Of Nigeria’ Auto industry’.
Special guests of the day are Jelani Aliyu, Director-General of the National Automotive Design & Development Council (NADDC) and Boboye Oyeyemi, Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).
New entrants for this year’s awards are Jet Systems listed in the electric bus promoter of the year category; OMAA mentioned in the gas-powered vehicle promoter of the year category, among others.
The two brands are coming at a time when Nigeria is focusing and encouraging the shift from fossil fuel to electric and gas respectively to prospective vehicle buyers.
Geely Coolray, marketed by Mikano International Limited is also in contention for the best designed vehicle of the year.
According to the organisers of the event headed by chairman of the award committee, Theodore Opara, the Car-of-The-Year (COTY) category will be contested by Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Creta and Kia Rio.
The Suzuki brand, which is being marketed by CFAO, is listed on the strongest comeback brand category, while PAN has been nominated for the most resilient auto company of the year.
Nigeria’s indigenous automaker, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Co, is captured in auto manufacturer of the year (local content) because of its immense contribution in the development of the local auto industry and other ancillary allied automotive component makers.
A major highlight of the event is the launch of the 2021 Nigeria Auto Journal.
Chairman of the Nigeria’s Auto Journalists Association, Mike Ochonma, said all vehicles nominated in the various categories represent exceptional value and designs.
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