The Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoki on Wednesday failed to appear before the House of Representative committee on public procurement that is conducting a hearing on amending the public procurement act.
Mr Adoki’s absence got the members of the committee who questioned the executive’s commitment to implementing the provisions of the public procurement act 2007, furious.
The Minister had also failed to honour several other invitations by the committee.
A member of the committee, Patrick Ihariale (PDP, Edo) said, the failure of Mr Adoke to appear before the House “is evidence of bad character”, adding that it was “deliberate, calculated and very conscious”.
The committee refused to listen to the Solicitor General of the Federation, Abdullahi Ahmed Yola who said he had the mandate of the Attorney General to speak before the committee.
The House of Representative had mandated the committee to invite the Attorney General to explain the reasons why the government had failed to constitute the National Council on Public Procurement in accordance with the Public Procurement Act.
The chairperson of the committee, Jumoke Okoya-Thomas, said that the absence of the minister indicates the lack of “political will on the side of the executive” on curbing the corruptions associated with the process of public procurement.
She said that Mr. Adoki was informed of the hearing 21 days earlier and that during this period, “the Senate came up with their own resolution” concerning the issue of public procurement.
The Senate had passed a bill requesting the President to constitute the National council on procurement.
“What you (Mr Adoki) are doing now is not respecting the resolutions of the National Assembly as a whole,” the lawmaker said.
Ms Okoya-Thomas said that the Minister’s action is “totally unacceptable” and that the committee will next Thursday present its report that the executive arm of government lack the political will to fight corruption in the processes of public procurement to the House of Representative.