The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and members of the House of Representatives have been indicted in an alleged procurement scandal, contract scam and for receiving payment for unexecuted shady contracts.
It was alleged that the lawmakers colluded with the agency’s suspended DG on several occasions and received full payments for contracts without proof to justify government spending of such huge sums, The Union Nigeria reports.
Chief in the scandal, is the Speaker, Gbajabiamila who was also reported to have commissioned a PRODA Wifi project in selected tertiary institutions in Lagos, without the bills of quantities, scope of work and other relevant procurement documents, when in actual sense, these contracts were invalidly issued.
The governing Board of the Projects Development Institute (PRODA), Enugu, is asking the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) to beam its search light on members of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Procurement.
Chairman of the board, Comrade Daniel Onjeh who made the allegation in Abuja accused the lawmakers of conniving with the suspended Director General of the Agency, Engr. Charles Agulanna to carry out the shady dealings.
According to him, the lawmakers colluded with the agency’s suspended DG on several occasions and received full payments for contracts without proof to justify government spending of such huge sums.
He said it was sad to note that such activities were reoccurring decimals in the institute, adding that nemesis caught up with them this time around with the current governing board in place.
“We have discovered that most PRODA contractors are mere fronts for NASS members, used as conduit pipes for siphoning monies meant for zonal and constituency projects.
“That is simply why they are trying to blackmail PRODA’s current management and its governing board into paying for phony contracts unlawfully, illegally, and invalidly awarded by an unauthorized staff, who is a stooge of the agency’s suspended DG.
“A staff who was never in fact, and in the eyes of the law, appointed acting DG/CEO by the Commander-in-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The contracts awarded by Mr. Nathan Abia-Bassey, were awarded in breach of the Public Procurement Act 2007, which stipulates that only the DG shall sign and award contracts”
According to Onjeh, “Abia-Bassey just sat down and singlehandedly and unlawfully awarded contracts to NASS contractors, without a meeting/approval of the PRODA management tender’s board. That is what the honorable members of the House of Reps are fighting tooth and nail to defend”, he alleged.
Onjeh said, “The House Speaker, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamilia, who claimed the contractors of House of Reps members have completed their projects, as such should be paid, was also reported to have commissioned PRODA Wifi project in selected tertiary institutions in Lagos, without the bills of quantities, scope of work and other relevant procurement documents, when in actual sense, these contracts were invalidly issued.
“Most of the projects the National Assembly members claim their contractors have completed are in several instances without site locations, bills of quantities, scope of work, drawings etc.
“I, therefore, wish to make it clear that the acting DG of PRODA is innocent of all the gamut of falsehood concocted against him by the House committee on public procurement, and is undaunted by the House of Reps’ order for his immediate suspension and prosecution.
“The current PRODA board and management are determined to do what is right in the agency, to act for the first time, purely in public interest and in line with the anti-corruption stance of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
“The mindless fleecing of our collective wealth by a few, with the active collusion of some National Assembly members, must stop forthwith”, he stated.
All efforts to reach the Speaker, Rt.Hon Femi Gbajabiamila and the Chairman, House Committee on Public Procurement, Hon. Nasir Ali Ahmed, proved abortive.
One of the media aides to the Speaker, who said he was not in the best position to speak on the matter. He referred The Union Nigeria to the Speaker’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Olarenwaju Lasisi who didn’t pick calls but requested a text message.
A text was sent to him which was not replied. In the same vein, calls and text put across to Hon. Nasir Ali Ahmed were not responded to.
Meanwhile, the House last week’s Wednesday endorsed a report of its committee on public procurement on PRODA’s investigation calling on the presidency to immediately suspend the DG of PRODA and investigate him and members of the board of agency for alleged illegal award of contracts and payment to contractors.