Senate slams NPA over N7.5bn contract award


The Senate through its committee on Public Accounts has beamed its searchlight on alleged irregularities perpetrated by management of Nigeria Port Authority in the award of N7.5 billion contract in 2012.

The contracts as contained in the 2017 audit report were for off shore erosion control work at Akipelai, Ayakoro and Otuoke in Bayelsa state.

Queries raised by the Auditor General in the report alleged that the contract was awarded in March 2012 with 14 months completion period but as at November of the same year, N4.2billion has been paid which represents 56.61 percent of the contract sum  to the contractor.

However, review of quantities (BOGs) under No- 1 attachment revealed that mobilisation fee of N1.1billion paid to the contractor, was supported by conditional bank guarantee with validity for 365 days which expired on the 2nd March, 2013, contrary to the provision of Section 35 ‘1’ of Procurement Act 2007 and Financial Regulations 2933 “1” (2009) which only provides for submission of an unconditional bank guarantee or insurance bond.

But, NPA in a written response to the allegation claimed that enbloc recovery of mobilisation fee may create a financial strain to the project hence the need to recover the fee in piecemeal.

Also, it was revealed that the sum of N19.5 million was paid for Toyota Hilux Double cabin petrol engine; however, there was no evidence to confirm that these vehicles were purchased.

In the NPA response to the allegation, the agency claimed that the Toyota Hilux was purchased.

In another observation by the Auditor General, N128 million provided for insurance against damages to persons and properties, was certified and paid through certificate No-3 with no evidence that any insurance was undertaken.

But, NPA in its response said, “Noted for future compliance. Payment for insurance of the works was carried by the contractor as required to the tune of the approved amount.

“The particulars of the insurance are usually retained by the contractor.”

In addition, in the interim valuation certificate No 4 dated November 11, 2015  showed that the value of works executed at the period was N3.9billion  representing 52.07 percent.

But, the total amount paid to the contractor was N4.2 billion representing 56.61 percent of the contract sum and it implies that contractor was paid more than the work executed by N344 million.

Consequently, as directed by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Mathew Urhoghide (PDP Edo South), NPA is expected to appear before the committee in the second week of January 2022 for documentary presentations  on  responses  to the queries.