No fewer than 815 contractors were recently shortlisted by the Border Communities Development Agency (BDCA) for hundreds of constituency projects despite failing to meet federal contracting requirements, an ongoing investigation by LIVING TV has revealed.
It is the second time in less than a month that the agency has been exposed for procurement irregularity.
Being shortlisted presupposes that an applicant has satisfied all criteria contained in the procurement guidelines published by a government agency for the award of contracts.
But a fresh trove of procurement documents analysed by LIVING TV revealed that the bulk of the prequalified contractors for the 2018 intervention projects by lawmakers did not meet the most basic criteria spelt out in the invitation to tender advert released by the BDCA in August 2018.
The agency advertised nearly 400 self-enrichment projects of lawmakers for which funds were earmarked in the 2018 budget.
The Nigerian government’s anti-corruption posturing could be undermined if officials at the BDCA are allowed to go ahead with the flawed contracting process in brazen defiance of the country’s extant procurement regulations.
The value of the contracts ranges between N10 million and N200 million.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s son-in-law, Junaid Abdullahi, is the executive secretary of the federal interventionist agency established in 2003 to develop the country’s border communities.
Section 23 (1) of the PPA (2007) does not allow federal agencies or their management to manipulate procurement guidelines to favour any party during a contracting process.
The law says: “Where a procuring entity has made a decision with respect to the minimum qualification of suppliers, contractors or service providers by requesting interested persons to submit applications to prequalify, it shall set out precise criteria upon which it seeks to give consideration to the applications and in reaching a decision as to which supplier, contractor or service provider qualifies, shall apply, only the criteria set out in the prequalification documents and no more.”
LIVING TV revealed last week that dozens of firms were pre-qualified to get contracts for federal projects which lawmakers inserted into the 2018 budget in continuation of their self-enrichment tradition.
The group said the BPP, as the regulatory institution responsible the supervision of federal contracting processes to ensure strict compliance with procurement regulations, should immediately step in and sanction the BDCA for previous violations, and forestall further occurrences.
“We hereby request for the intervention of the BPP in the ongoing BCDA ZIP 2018 procurement process,” the group said in the letter to BPP. “Please assist in the fight against corruption.”