A witness in the ongoing trial of Daar Communication Chairman, Raymond Dokpesi, has said that the N2.1 billion contract awarded to the defendant was not documented, contrary to the provisions by the Bureau for Public Procurement Act 2007.
Babatunde Auye, a procurement officer with the BPP, also told the court that it is a crime not to include a contract in the BPP list of analysed investments.
Mr. Dokpesi is facing a six-count charge of alleged fraudulent transaction resulting from the award of a publicity contract to Daar communications by the former administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
The N2.1 billion contract was allegedly paid for with funds from the Office of the National Security Adviser under the then leadership of Sambo Dasuki.
Mr. Auye, the director of compliance, certification and monitoring department of the BPP, explained that his team is responsible for ‘proof review of contracts’ to ensure that they comply with the BPP Act.
“I head the department and our responsibility is ensuring compliance with the provisions of the commission’s Act 2007. We conduct proof review of contract,” he said in his testimony.
“For the procurement of goods and services, procurement entities are mandated to place public advertisement to solicit for proposals for the intended goods and services. There is a closing date for the solicitation and on the closing date, the bid will be publicly opened. Then the procurement entity will tender an evaluation report. The evaluation report primarily consists of the performance of all the bidders and the recommendation for the winning bidder.
“If the financial cost of the goods and services is up-to a million naira, the procurement entity will proceed with a request to BPP to issue certificate of no objection. The request comes with all the procurement records and most especially the submission of the recommended winning bidder.
“The BPP on receipt of this request, will conduct an independent review of the process based on the document given to us. If BPP is satisfied that there has been substantial compliance with the provisions of the goods and services under the Procurement Act 2007, we then issue certification for the contract. This certificate is an instrument which empowers the procurement entity to proceed to the Federal Executive Council for final approval,” Mr. Auye said.
Asked whether the BPP has any record that the process was complied with in the award of the contract to Mr. Dokpesi’s company, the witness said there was no record to that effect.
Mr. Auye further said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC had written the BPP in December 2015 for information to determine whether the contracts complied with the BPP Act.
“We searched our records and found that the investment was not involved in any procurement request that came to BPP,” he said.
Fielding questions from the prosecution witness, Rotimi Jacobs, Mr. Auye said the failure to award the contract based on the BPP Act renders it null and void.
“Not following the procedure of the BPP Act renders the contract fraudulent, a violation of the law and a procurement crime,” he said.
Mr. Auye, however, told the court during cross examination by a former Attorney-General of the Federation, Kanu Agabi, that he had signed a document wherein he stated that his office was not in the position to offer any information on the award of the controversial contract to Daar communications Plc.
Mr. Auye added that the statement was in response to inquiries by the EFCC. The witness explained that since the said contract was not contained in any document within the BPP, his office told the EFCC that it could “consequently not offer any opinion regarding the contract.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Dokpesi was granted permission to travel abroad for his medical check-up within July and September this year.
Justice John Tsoho gave the order for the release of Mr. Dokpesi’s international passport, following an application filed by Mr. Dokpesi’s lawyer, Mike Ozekhome.