The Office of the Auditor General of the Federation has uncovered irregularities in the award of contracts amounting to N4.41bn by 18 ministries, departments and agencies of government in 2019.

The OAuGF disclosed this in a 2019 Annual Report on non-compliance/internal control weaknesses issues in MDAs of the Federal Government for the year ended December 31, 2019.

The affected MDAs include Anambra Imo River Basin Development Authority, Nigeria Institute for Oil Palm Research, National Inland Waterways Authority, Federal College of Agriculture, Social Development Secretariat, Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Council for Legal Education, and Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Others are Federal Medical Centre, Keffi; Ministry of Defence, Nigerian Police Force Headquarters; The Embassy of Nigeria, Addis-Ababa; Investment and Securities Tribunal, Nigeria; Nigeria Customs Service; Federal Ministry of Works and Housing (Works Section), Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Abuja; Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority; and Nigeria Export Promotion Council.

The MDAs with the largest contract sums are the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters, Council of Legal Education, Bwari, Anambra Imo River Basin Development Authority, Code of Conduct Tribunal and the Ministry of Defence.

The OAuGF said 10 contracts, amounting to N1.13bn, were awarded by the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters to a single proprietor in the name of different companies without the disclosure of their relationship in accordance with the fundamental principles of procurement as required by extant regulations.

It said 65 payments totalling N891,367,842.31 were made to contractors for supplies and renovations by the Council of Legal Education, Bwari.

“The above contracts were not advertised and there were no bid documents or other relevant information attached to the vouchers to ascertain that there was open competitiveness and fairness in its awards and selection of the contractors, as enshrined in the Procurement Act of 2007,” it said

According to the report, the sum of N659,963,029 could not be accounted for by the Anambra Imo River Basin Development Authority.

The OAuGF said a contract was awarded by the Code of Conduct Tribunal for the furnishing of its headquarters in Abuja at a contract sum of N82,004,471.20 vide payment voucher number CCT/HQ/G/VI/1006 dated 15 /11/2019.

It said, “The terms of the contract showed that this contract was an additional one from an existing contract. There was no open competitive bidding in the award of the contract to the contractor.

“There was no certificate of ‘No Objection’ from the Bureau of Public Procurement on the award of the contract. There was no Federal Executive Council approval despite the fact that the contract sum was above threshold of the tribunal, and payment voucher of the existing contract was not made available for examination.”

According to the report, payments totalling N20.50m were made to an officer of the Ministry of Defence for the digitalisation of the ministry’s records for scanning and printing, which ought to have been contracted out.

“Government had been deprived of legitimate revenue amounting to N2.05m that would have accrued by way of withholding tax and VAT. The above anomalies could be attributed to weaknesses in the internal control system at the Ministry of Defence,” it added.

The report said the attention of the Public Accounts Committees of the National Assembly had been drawn to these issues with a view to stemming the tide through sanctions.

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