Connect with us

News

Senate queries NECO over award of N6.5bn contracts without due process

Published

on

THE Senate has queried  the nation’s secondary examination body, the National Examination Council, NECO, over alleged award of contracts to the tune of N6.5 billion without due process . According to the Senate, the contracts awarded by NECO are the printing of security and non- security documents. This was raised by the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, led by Senator Matthew Urhoghide, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which relied on the 2017 report of Office of Auditor General for the Federation submitted to it for consideration. According to the Auditor General,   NECO is unable to present any record to show that approval was granted for the contract by the Ministerial tender board in the first contract that cost about N451 million. In the second contract that cost about N6.1 billion, quotations were not collected from three bidders as required by PPA 2007. It also noted that taxes were not deducted from some of the contract payment, even as there was no technical and financial evaluation.

According to the report, evidence of placement of advertisement was not attached to either payment vouchers or contract files. The report noted further that the amount expended was above the threshold of the Council and that the contracts were split, with some awarded to same contractor with LPO and work order issued on the same date. The query read:  “Examination of records and documents revealed that the Commission’s Tenders Board approved the award of contract for printing of security materials in the sum of ¦ 451 million to a company in March 2017 in contravention of provisions of federal government circular No.SGF/OP/I/S.3/XI/849 of January 16, 2016.

‘’The circular reiterated that the approved revised thresholds for service wide application, for which the Parastatal Tender Board can only exercise authority on works whose value is less than ¦ 250 million, while any sum above this, is to be referred to the Ministerial Tenders Board for approval. “We sought the authority for the above approval, including the ministerial approval but none was provided. “The above unilateral award of contracts without following due process may lead to awarding contracts to unqualified contractors.   Recommendation The Registrar/CEO should be sanctioned in line with provisions of Financial Regulation 3117.” In his response, NECO’s Registrar, Prof. Godswill Obioma, who spoke on the issue of N461 million, said:  “These are payments to Data Science Nigeria Limited for the supply of optical mark readers for objective question papers for various examinations conducted by the Council.” The committee sustained the queries on the ground that the Council could not provide evidence of approval from the Ministerial Tenders Board before awarding contracts beyond its threshold.

The second query read:   “Examination of contracts awarded for the printing of security and non- security documents valued at ¦ 6,166,405,407.42 revealed that the contracts were awarded without compliance with the provisions of PART VI, Section 24 (I) of the Public Procurement Act (PPA) 2017 as amended, which states that except as provided by this Act, all procurements of goods and works by all procuring entities shall be conducted by open competitive bidding.

“The following irregularities were also noted, quotations were not collected from three bidders as required by PPA 2007, taxes were not deducted from some of the contract payments. ‘’There was no technical and financial evaluation, evidence of placement of advertisement was not attached to either payment vouchers or contract files. The amount expended was above the threshold of the Council, ‘’The contracts were split as some contracts were awarded to same contractor with LPO and work order issued on the same date.” Also responding to the N6.1 billion query, the Registrar said:  “ The contracts for the printing for our questions are warded through selective tendering. This is the case   to avoid leakages of our examinations and award of contract to printers of doubted integrity.” Chairman of the committee sustained the query because the Registrar was unable to defend it.

Continue Reading

News

Soyinka: Nigeria on the edge, Buhari must take urgent action

Published

on

Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, says Nigeria is on the “edge”, and asked President Muhammadu Buhari to move beyond mere talk, and take urgent action to set the country on the right path.
He said the President should stop exuding false confidence and speak like a leader ready to take action concerning the country’s challenges.
Last week, Buhari spoke, in two recorded interviews and a national broadcast, on challenges facing the country, stating that his administration was committed to ensuring growth and improved security.
Soyinka on Arise Television programme on Monday said the problems of the country could be addressed with the right actions by the leaders.
He said, “First of all, he should start talking to people like a leader — and a leader who is awake to the realities of the situation. Then, let us see actions being taken.
“I’m tired of hearing things like ‘you will see differences in a few weeks’ time’. We are tired of that. He’s got to put his cards on the table and take people into confidence.
“He’s got to stop exuding a false confidence, because that kind of confidence is totally false. It is not based on realities, and we’ve got to see an acceleration of actions to retrieve this nation from the very edge.
“It is no longer a problem of the people,; it is a problem of leadership, because the people have shown themselves ready to act, to save their own community.”
Soyinka also said the national assembly and the 36 state governors were not doing enough, considering their constitutional responsibilities.
He said, “Members of NASS are not doing enough. If you study the constitution very carefully, you will realise that they have certain powers which they haven’t touched
“There are certain areas they can compel this government to act the way it should, and that applies especially to governors — the governors themselves are too timid.”
He warned Nigerians to stop spreading fake news, stressing that it is a way of distorting constructive narratives that could help the people.
Soyinka said, “I appeal to people to stop putting words in my mouth. If you think you can pressure me to speak by stealing my identity and putting words in my mouth on social media, you are wasting your time. Not only that, you are acting in a distorting way.
“At this sensitive time, I must warn Nigerians to stop playing around with such serious issues, otherwise they are going to lose the kind of support they have from people like me.”

Continue Reading

News

Surrender and seek forgiveness, Army tells B’Haram insurgents

Published

on

The Nigerian army has called on Boko Haram insurgents to drop their arms, “seek forgiveness and reconciliation”.

General Officer Commanding (GOC), 7 Division, Nigerian Army, AA Eyitayo, made the call on Sunday at an event organised for journalists by the army in Maiduguri, Borno state capital.

Eyitayo said Boko Haram insurgents are in a state of disarray, following the recent military onslaught against them.

He asked the insurgents to surrender and take advantage of the opportunity to be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.

The brigadier-general, who is also the commander sector 1, operation Hadin Kai, asked the media to enlighten the insurgents about the call for them to “shun violence”.

“We are not here for bloodletting, nobody is happy that people are dying,” the GOC said.

“Some of them (insurgents) are listening to the media so it is good for us to appeal to them through the media to shun violence, turn up to seek forgiveness and reconciliation.”

Continue Reading

News

BREAKING: Bennett replaces Netanyahu as Israel’s prime minister

Published

on

Israel has elected Naftali Bennett its new prime minister after its parliament narrowly voted in favour of a new coalition government, ending Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s historic 12-year rule.
Sunday’s vote, passed by a 60-59 margin, ended a two-year cycle of political paralysis in which the country held four elections.
Bennett, a former ally of Netanyahu turned bitter rival, will preside over a diverse and fragile coalition comprising eight parties with deep ideological differences.
Netanyahu remains head of the Likud party and will hold the post of opposition leader, according to a report obtained Sunday evening.

Netanyahu reportedly sat silently during the vote.
And after it was approved, he was said to have stood up to leave the chamber, before turning around and shaking hands with Bennett.
Netanyahu, wearing a black medical mask, then sat down in the opposition leader’s chair.
Minutes later, Bennett was sworn into office, followed by members of the new cabinet.

Continue Reading

Trending