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Reps to refer DG PRODA to EFCC, ICPC

The House of Representatives committee on public procurement says it will refer the acting Director General of the Product Development Institute (PRODA), Dr. Fabian Okonkwo to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other graft agencies for prosecution.

The Chairman of the Committee, Nasir Ahmed, who disclosed this at the closing of the investigations into alleged procurement deception and staff victimization at the institute said Mr Okonkwo was guilty of violating the public procurement act, 2007 by cancelling duly approved contracts and illegally rewarding them.

“So, we will refer this case to the EFCC, ICPC and the NFIU. There was a transparent process, you came in and said to hell with BPP and decided to do what you want. I can assure you that whatever we do as a parliament, Mr. President and Nigerians are behind us”, Nasir Ahmed stated.

Earlier in his presentation before the committee, the director general of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) represented by Engr. Babatunde Kuye submitted that the acting DG violated the public procurement act, 2007 by cancelling contract awards without recourse to due process.

He said after the approval of the procurement process, the BPP received petitions from contractors who accused the management of PRODA of threats and attempts to extort N10 million from them.

Kuye noted that since the allegations contained in some petitions were criminal in nature, the BPP directed PRODA to suspend work on the contracts.

When asked if he had approval from the BPP before cancelling the contracts and awarding fresh ones, the acting Director General, Dr. Okonkwo said he had written to the BPP communicating illegalities in the contracts.

In his remarks at the investigation, chairman of the PRODA board, Comrade Daniel Onje said they acted in national interest in stopping the contracts.

He, however accused the acting DG of misleading the board by claiming that he had informed BPP and got approval to cancel the contracts. 

IBRAHIM SHEHU

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