An anti-graft coalition, Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), has urged the Bureau For Public Procurement (BPP), investigate the procurement proposal for the purchase of a new secretariat by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
In a petition to the BPE, signed by CSNAC’s national chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, the group said the bureau’s decision to purchase a new secretariat portends waste and fraud by the bureau.
The petition followed a PREMIUM TIMES report on how the CCB abandoned its multi-billion Naira headquarters building after committing N1.4 billion to the project.
“In the quest of having a CCB headquarters complex, located on Plot 816 in the Abuja Central Business District, near Labour House, the project was awarded in 2010 to Brunnel Engineering Limited for N3.5billion (the award contained in a letter with reference number CCB/HQ/CORR/200/14 dated September 7, 2010 , signed by Bureau’s Assistant Director, Procurement, N. Hussaini, on behalf of the bureau’s Chairman, Sam Saba),” CSNAC said.
“Following the signing of the letter, CCB released 15 percent of the contract sum as mobilization to Messrs. Brunnel Limited and the company mobilized to site.”
According to this newspaper, as the project got underway, the Federal Capital Development Administration (FCDA) approved a new design for the site (part of the Central Business District) that the complex should be high rise buildings of up to 18 floors. In view of this, the bureau directed the contractor to submit a fresh design for an 18-floor building at the cost of N12 billion.
“The bureau obtained a “Certificate of No Objection” from the Bureau of Public Procurement and raised a fresh memo to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval. But due to lack of fund, FEC ordered the bureau to review the project downward by reducing the number of floors.
“The project was reviewed to nine floors with four underground parking lots which was subsequently approved by FEC on October 31, 2012, and also approved the review of the contract sum from N3.5 billion to N8.7 billion (reviewed contract agreement signed February 5, 2013).”
The PREMIUM TIMES report stated further that, “the inability of CCB to discharge the payment certificate as well as release funds for the project in instalments (the bureau expected the contractor to execute the contract with speed) allegedly dogged the project execution which led to abandonment of the project; despite the bureau’s mandate of maintaining a high standard of morality in the conduct of government business.
“Surprisingly, under the year 2016 budget CCB had sought sum of N4.4 billion for the “purchase of its headquarters building in Abuja instead of seeking funds to complete the abandoned project.”
According to the report, the amount is now contained in the 2016 Appropriation Act approved by both the Presidency and the National Assembly with letter dated June 7, 2016, and signed by the Acting Secretary of the bureau, Abiodun Kolawole and sent to the Bureau for Public Procurement requesting guidelines for an outright purchase of new building for its headquarters’ office.
“CSNAC is thereby demanding BPP to immediately suspend further action on the guideline for purchase of a new structure as requested by CCB, conduct a diligent investigation into circumstances surrounding the abandoned project; and ensure the completion of the structure under construction within a reasonable time,” the petition said.