The House of Representatives has unanimously decided to launch an investigation into the alleged misconduct, contravention, and transgressions of the Public Procurement Act in the hiring of consultants for pre-shipment inspection and the oversight of crude oil and gas exports from Nigeria, which resulted in a substantial loss of $160 million,leadership reports.
This resolution followed the approval of a motion introduced by Hon. Kabiru Amadu of Zamfara State during the plenary session on Thursday.
In his motion, Amadu pointed out that, in accordance with the Pre-Shipment Inspection of Exports Act, the responsibility of appointing inspecting agents to carry out pre-shipment inspections falls under the purview of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. However, the President had delegated this authority to the Federal Ministry of Finance. Consequently, the Federal Ministry of Finance initiated the process of engaging pre-shipment inspectors and monitoring agents.
Amadu emphasized that the Federal Ministry of Finance initiated this process in a disorderly manner, in violation of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 (as amended). He noted that the ministry’s handling of the tendering process was fraught with clear violations and breaches of the Public Procurement Act, 2007.
The lawmaker further disclosed that, following complaints, the Federal Ministry of Finance recommenced the tendering process but continued to disregard the rules, leading to the qualification of unresponsive companies lacking essential documentation.
The misconduct was allegedly orchestrated, pushed, and executed by officials of the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria, with the Public Procurement Act and other procurement guidelines being blatantly disregarded, and significant provisions regarding conflicts of interest being violated.
Amadu stressed that due to these infractions, which culminated in the engagement of unqualified and unresponsive consultants, costly errors were made by these consultants after their appointment, resulting in a substantial loss of revenue amounting to approximately $160 million.
In endorsing the motion, the House entrusted the Committee on Public Procurement with the task of conducting a thorough investigation and providing a report within six weeks, which will serve as the basis for further legislative action.