Governor Rotimi Akeredolu-led Ondo State Government has revealed that it set aside the Public Procurement guidelines during the heat of the deadly Coronavirus and empowered some individuals in the State by awarding contracts to them.
This online media had in its assessment of the State Open Procurement Portal discovered that on the 25th of March 2021, the State Government awarded contracts to Alamu Oluwakemi Alice, Bukola Adebayo, Ereola Fasoranti, and Muyiwa Ajetomobi as against the procurement law.
According to data on the portal, the contracts were awarded separately to the individuals and three of them were for “Procurement of 1,000 Hand Sanitizers”. The contract details also include “Alcohol-based anti-Covid-19 complaint Hand Sanitizers (500ml) branded with ODBPP with transportation to any location in Ondo State”. All three contracts are worth #2,515,965.75 each.
The last one was awarded for the “Procurement of Century 2000 Watts Stabilizer”. The contract details also include a “2000 Watts Stabilizer (automatic voltage stabilizer) 2000VA 5kg. Output 230V with transportation to any location in Ondo State”. The contract is worth #2,802,960.00.
According to the procurement law, to qualify for a government contract, a company must among others, show evidence of fulfilling its Tax obligations which include: (i) a Current Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC) for the last three (3) years; VAT Registration Certificate; and TIN Number (Tax Identification Number).
(ii) Audited Account of the Bidding Company for the last three (3) years duly endorsed by a firm of Professional Accountants.
More so, chapter 7, section 713 of the Nigeria Financial Regulations states that under no condition should personal money be paid into the government’s bank account, nor shall any public money be deposited into a private account.
“Personal money shall in no circumstances be paid into a government bank account, nor shall any public money be paid into a private bank account. An officer who pays public money into a private account is deemed to have done so with a fraudulent intention.” the section reads.
Chapter 31, section 3106 of the Financial regulations act states that “A public officer who makes an irregular payment from public funds, shall be given 21days notice to offer an explanation. Where no satisfactory explanation is given, the amount involved shall be recovered from the officer and such officer shall be removed from the schedule.”
“On no condition should the Federal government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) pay money into personal accounts. They are not permitted to do so. The idea of paying into a personal account is a fraudulent act. It is a punishable offence under chapter 31, section 3106 of the Financial Regulations Act.”
When contacted, Ibukun Akinmoji, whose contact number appeared on the portal, said the State government decided to set aside the law to empower individuals during COVID-19. He said it was part of efforts to cushion the effects of the Coronavirus.
Another contact person, Mrs. Adetola Adeniyi reiterated what Ibukun said.