N1.3 Trillion Stolen Between 2011 And 2015, Magu Reveals

BREAKING: Police Promote EFCC Boss Magu, 17 Others
File photo: Ibrahim Magu

 

The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu has revealed that the money stolen between 2011 and 2015 is well over N1.3 trillion.

According to Magu, the money stolen within this period was by 32 entities, both human and corporate.

Magu made the disclosure in his keynote address at the opening ceremony of the 2019 First Batch Conversion Training Programme to Procurement Cadre for Federal Parastatal and Agencies, organised by the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, in Lagos on Monday.

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Magu, in a paper delivered on his behalf by the Commission’s Secretary, Ola Olukoyede decried the huge financial loss to the country and noted that a quarter of the money could have been used for education and infrastructure development in the country.

“One third of this money, using world bank rates and cost, could have comfortably been used to construct well over 500km of roads; build close to 200 schools; educate about 4000 children from primary to tertiary levels at N25million per child; build 20,000 units of two-bedroom houses across the country and do even more.

“The cost of this grand theft, therefore, is that these roads, schools and houses will never be built and these children will never have access to quality education because a few rapacious individuals had cornered for themselves what would have helped secure the lives of the future generations, thereby depriving them of quality education and healthcare, among others,” he added.

The EFCC boss further identified the fraudulent practices in procurement processes in Nigeria to include: kickbacks, conflict of interests, and fraud in the bidding process, bid suppression, collusive bidding, bid rotation and market division. Others according to him are: co-mingling of contracts, change order abuse, cost mischarging, defective pricing, false statement and claim, phantom vendors, product substitution, unnecessary purchases and purchases for personal use or resale.

Senate To Investigate Bureau of Public Procurement

Senate To Investigate Bureau of Public Procurement
File Photo

The Senate has resolved to investigate the operations of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) over allegations of corruption within the agency.

The Upper Chamber made the resolution on Wednesday after Senator Dino Melaye alleged that monumental corruption was taking place in the BPP.

Senator Melaye, one of the lawmakers representing Kogi State at the Upper House, urged the Senate to take concrete steps to clean up the agency.

The officials at the agency were accused of engaging in underhand dealings in the issuance of ‘certificate of no objection’ for contracts awarded by procurement entities.

The Senate has mandated its Committee on Public Procurement to investigate the allegations that officials of the BPP were corruptly enriching themselves and abusing the agency’s powers to issue the certificates for their personal gains.

 

Nigeria Appoints Transaction Parties To Execute Eurobond Programme

fecThe Nigerian government on Wednesday approved the appointment of five transaction advisers to run handle issuance of the proposed one-billion-dollar Eurobond in the International Capital Market which will commence in January 2017.

Nigeria Citigroup, Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, White & Case LLP, Banwo & Ighodalo and AfricaPractice are the five parties approved by the Federal Executive Council during its weekly meeting in the nation’s capital, Abuja.

Before the approval, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, told the Council members that the companies were expected to run all issuance programmes for the country for the next three years.

$1-Billion-Dollar Euro Bond

The minister said that the one-billion-dollar Euro Bond was part of the funding for capital projects in the 2016 budget which runs till March 2017.

kemi_adeosun
The selection of the advisers was an open and transparent one, Mr Kemi Adesina told Council members

Mrs Adeosun told the Council that the team of five advisers, would run all Euro Bond issuance programmes until 2019, to cut out the cumbersome process of re-tendering and selection for the programme which is already generating significant investor interest.

She stated that the selection was based on an open and competitive bid process in line with the Public Procurement Act, 2007 and a certificate of “No Objection” was received from the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to award contracts to the recommended Parties.

“We have so far, received strong commitment from the international community. Investors believe in the long-term economic outlook for Nigeria, as we continue with our structural reforms and increased focus on infrastructure development to diversify the economy and grow the non-oil sector.

“Stable oil prices and steadying foreign reserves will support our plans and we expect high demand for this issue to further push down yields. We are confident that this will be a successful outing in January, 2017,” she stated.

The approval was part of two memos that were discussed and approved at the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The other memo was for the amendment to the gazette for the establishment of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP).

Amina Mohammed, Renewable Energy, Jatropha
Amina Mohammed Minister of Environment

On the hydrocarbon pollution project gazette amendment, the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, pointed out that it was necessary to establish crucial government structures to manage the clean-up of the Niger Delta region is reason for council’s approval.

According to him, the government’s intention is to rollout a training plan for women on livelihood in the contaminated areas in Ogoni, recruit young people in the area for the clean-up process.

The government had few months ago launched a clean-up programme in Ogoniland, to save the land from adverse effect of oil exploration activities.

NIMASA Fraud: Court Admits More Exhibits Against Akpobolokemi, Others

Akpobolokemi--NIMASAA Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has admitted more exhibits against a former Director- General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi and five others.

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Tuesday, prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, presented one of the three witnesses he earlier brought before the court.

The witness, Olamide Ogunsanya, an Assistant Director in NIMASA disclosed to the court, how the sum of 795,200,000 Naira was paid into the International Shipping and Port Safety (ISPS), account and how the same amount was disbursed.

The witness told the court that approval for the disbursement of the money came from the office of Mr Akpobolokemi.

The document conveying the presidential approval through the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), was identified by the witness and same was admitted as exhibit P22.

On the document, Mrs Ogunsanya identified the endorsement of the first accused person, Akpobolokemi.

Also tendered through the witness, are letters from NIMASA to the Accountant General of Federation and approval from the Accountant General’s office.

The documents were eventually admitted as exhibits P24 and P25 respectively.

The witness also identified the third accused person, Ekene Nwakuche as the first beneficiary in the disbursement of the 795,200,000 Naira.

She told the court that between September 16, 2014 and November 6, 2014, Nwakuche received 3,000,000 Naira each, on eight occasions, from the ISPS account totalling 28,000,000 Naira.

Other beneficiaries are Avant Guard Securities, 94,000,000 Naira; Extreme Vertex Limited, 318,000,000 Naira ; Suco Global, 15,000,000 Naira; O2 Services Limited, 21,200,000 Naira and 16,000,000 Naira; and Aroward Consulting, 70,000,000 Naira.

The witness said that there was a balance of 198, 635 Naira (left in the account).

While explaining the procedure for receiving and disbursing money in NIMASA, Mrs Ogunsanya said that a request would be made to the presidency through the NSA’s office and when approved, the DG would ask the Executive Director to implement.

”From the executive director’s office, an internal memo was raised and directed to the Director, Financial Services Department where payment instructions would be issued.”

The witness further disclosed that on March 20, 2014, the sum of 447, 000,000 Naira was paid into the ISPS account and same was disbursed following the same procedure, with a slight change in the beneficiaries.

In this instance, new beneficiaries were included. They are: Green Lemon Limited and Seabulk.

Mr Oyedepo asked the witness about the procedure for the award of contracts in NIMASA and she said the agency had different threshold in terms of contracts award, as stipulated by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

She said that the DG had an approval limit of 5,000,000 Naira. For contracts that exceeded 5,000,000 Naira to anything below 50,000,000 Naira, which she also said fell  into the threshold of parastatal’s tenders board.

Contracts that are between 50,000,000 Naira to below 100,000,000 Naira, falls under the threshold of ministerial tenders board and any contract above 100,000,000 Naira falls within the presidential or Federal Executive Council’s threshold.

The 318,000,000 Naira payment to Extreme Vertex Limited was sighted as example of violation of BPP’s stipulated threshold by the former leadership of NIMASA.

Mrs Ogunsanya said that though, the normal procedure for awarding contract was always followed, she never met or saw any representative from any of the companies that were alleged to have been awarded the purported contracts.

During cross examination, the witness admitted that she was one of the signatories to the ISPS account.

But when she was asked whether she was aware of the 2013/14 National Assembly’s budgetary appropriation for the sum of 447,000,000 Naira, Mrs Ogunsanya said that she had to look at the budget to be able to answer the question.

Counsel to Akpobolokemi, Joseph Nwobike, prayed the court for an adjournment in order to effectively cross examine the witness.

Justice Buba adjourned the matter to Wednesday, March 2, 2016 for continuation of trial.

Mr Akpobolokemi is standing trial, alongside five others, on a 13- count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing and fraudulent conversion of funds, to the tune of 687, 294, 680 Naira.

His co-accused persons are: Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba; Ekene Nwakuche; Governor Amechee Juan; Vincent Udoye, Captain Ade Sahib Olopoenia and Gama Marine Nigeria Limited.

Finance Minister Cancels Oil And Gas Pre-Shipment Tender Exercise

financeThe Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has ordered the immediate cancellation of the tendering process for the engagement of Pre-Shipment Inspection and Monitoring Agents for Oil and Gas.

The decision was necessitated by the receipt of numerous complaints and a petition regarding alleged irregularities in the process, she said.

A statement by the spokesperson for the Ministry read: “In June 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari mandated the Federal Ministry of Finance, under the then Permanent Secretary, Mrs Anastasia Nwoabia, to commence the process of engaging Pre-Shipment Inspection and Monitoring Agents. Upon the approval of the Bureau of Public Procurement, a selective tendering process was initiated under which 65 companies were selected and invited to bid”.

However, since the inception of the process, numerous complaints were sent to the Federal Ministry of Finance, suggesting that the method by which the 65 companies were selected was faulty and lacked transparency.

Additionally, a formal petition was received by the Bureau of Public Procurement, making specific allegations about the process.

Under Public Procurement rules, the receipt of a formal petition requires a suspension of the tendering process to allow an investigation. However, in this instance, the Minister has taken the decision to cancel the process.

The Minister said that, “the sheer volume of complaints and the wide range of sources they emanated from, had raised a sufficient level of concern around the process to warrant a full cancellation rather than a suspension.

“This administration stands for transparency and accountability and it is therefore important that all procurement and tendering exercises must be undertaken in accordance with best practices”.

Pre-Ship Inspection of Oil and Gas Exports commenced in 2015 and requires a Clean Certificate of Inspection to be issued, confirming the volume and the value of all exports.

The programme is believed to have enhanced government revenues by preventing misstatement and understatement by exporters.

The Ministry of Finance stated that it was in consultation with the Bureau of Public Procurement to commence a new process and to ensure interim arrangements for service provision.

The Ministry further stated that details of the new process would be communicated shortly.

Oyo Governor Urges Civil Servants To Be Organised And Responsible

The Oyo state governor, Abiola Ajimobi, on Thursday urged civil servants in the state to lead organised and responsible lives by always applying due process to all they do.

The governor said this during a workshop on due process and public procurement for senior government official in Oyo state which took place at the University of Ibadan.

The workshop, though sponsored by the Oyo state government, was organised by Bureau of Public Procurement in conjunction with the Centre for Organisational and Professional Ethics to enlighten civil servants on the crucial nature of due process in all their official conduct.

Governor Ajimobi said that he remains committed to intense capacity building because he wants only structured information to drive his transformation agenda.

He added that the workshop was necessary because it is imperative that every procurement process be done meticulously in the shortest time possible thereby respecting the bureaucracies of civil service but adding speed and efficiency.

He said that for his transformation agenda to succeed, all rules of engagement must be observed by all involved.

The work dealt extensively on how paper work and conducts of government officials could be precise, innovative and effective through due process.

Governor Abiola Ajimobi said the aim of constant capacity building for Oyo state workers is to ensure that structured information flows through his government.

He added that the workshop is crucial because it affords the participants the opportunity to understand even more the significance of due process and the consequences of non-adherence.