The Federal Ministry of Agriculture And Rural Development, in a total violation of the Public Procurement Act and Fiscal Responsibility Act, awarded a contract for the installation of 15 units of Solar Street Lights at Angwan Gede Community in Kuje Area Council of Abuja, the Nigeria capital city.
The contract that was awarded to Mertai Multi-Service Limited, a company registered on April 6, 2009, and has its operation at Plot 439 Lobito Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja, was carried out without procurement process followed.
MAWA Foundation in efforts to ascertain adherence to the procurement process in the award of the contract by the Agric Ministry, using the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) requested the ministry to furnish her with a tender bid, reports, and evidence showing that the procurement process was followed in award of the contract.
An FOI request the Agric Ministry in disobedient to the law has since refused to respond.
Although the Agric Ministry did not answer MAWA Foundation’s FOI request, a senior official in the procurement department who spoke to MAWA and did not want his name mentioned, said the ministry is notorious for the abuse of procurement processes and violation of procurement laws. He, however, added that virtually all the companies that got contracts with the Agric Ministry bribed their way through.
“Why are you bothered about procurement procedures in Agric Ministry, I can tell you for free, virtually all the companies that got a contract to execute projects under the ministry bribed their ways through”, the official told MAWA.
“Go and speak to the contractors, if they are sincere, they will tell you how much they paid to secure contract award, these things are not free, money must exchange hands,” the official added
When MAWA Foundation visited Plot 439 Lobito Crescent, Wuse II, an address the Mertai Multi-Service Limited claims to be operating from, no such company was found. Mr. Ephraim Ogbonia, who spoke to MAWA at the premises, said he is not aware of such a company having an office in the area.
Worse still, MAWA Foundation’s visit to Angwan Gede Community in Kuje Area Council of Abuja, shows that despite the money being paid to the contractor, nothing was done and the project was not executed.
Community residents who spoke to MAWA Foundation during the visit and conducted our officials around, said the only solar street lights in the area that are not more than four, were installed eight years ago at the Baobab Tree area and have since stopped working a long time ago.
When MAWA asked residents if they were consulted regarding the project award, they all answered in affirmation that nothing of that whatsoever happened.
Mr. Amza, a community resident and youth leader who spoke to MAWA said there was no project of such carried out at the community, and wondered why there will be consultation when there is no such plan to install solar street lights in the community.
“You do not need to ask if there was any consultation with the community regarding the contract award and the selection of the contractor, in the first instance, there is no such project in the community, so of what use is the consultation”, Amza said.
This report was supported by the PPDC