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Firm writes NRC over alleged process infraction in award of rail contract

By Matthew Ogune, Abuja
24 September 2021   |   3:22 am
A local construction firm, Duluidas Nigeria Ltd has appealed to the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to conduct a due process review for the award of the reconstruction

Railway

A local construction firm, Duluidas Nigeria Ltd has appealed to the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to conduct a due process review for the award of the reconstruction of narrow-guage track from Minna to Baro with extension to the Baro River Port.

The construction firm in a letter dated 15, September, 2021, to the NRC, signed by James Okoh of Treasure Solicitors alleged that the handling of the entire process leading to the award of the contract was tainted with bias and undue favoritism, adding that the entire process was fraudulent especially by failing to follow due process.

In the letter, the law firm explained that after the bid opened for the contract, the NRC, through the Federal Ministry of Transport surprisingly returned

Messrs CCECC as the most “Economically Advantageous” with a tender sum of N91, 580,101,710.50k as against the tender submitted by the Consortium of Duluidas (Nig.) Limited, Duliz Dredging & Construction Limited/Habbei Yixin Fastener Co. Ltd, China in the sum of N76, 794,910,332.00.

This decision, it noted contravened the provisions of Sections 32, 50 and 51 of the Procurement Act, 2007.

Informing the NRC that Messrs CCECC enjoyed undue favour from it for the reasons which is not clear to them, vowed to take all necessary legal steps, including instituting proceedings in court to ensure that justice, equity and fair play is applied in the process if the NRC fails to respond to the petition within five working days.

Letter reads in part: “Our client believes that if the reason givern by NRC- is ‘being economically advantageous’ is anything to go by, then your conclusion does not appear to follow from the premises as the difference between the bid of CCECC and that of Consortium of Duluidas (Nig.) Limited; Duliz Dredging & Construction Limited/Habbei Yixin Fastener Co. Ltd, China is huge meaning that our client should have won the bid using the economically advantageous criteria.

“Furthermore, If economic Consideration was the key driver and given that the Nigerian economy is still struggling today as a result of the effect of COVID 19, and the spiraling insecurity in the country which has affected our national economy, our client maintain the view that it would have been in the best interest of the economy to choose that bid which is over N15Billion lower in cost and yet technically competent, and that could not have been CCECC.

“Equally important is that the BPP, in reference to your recommendation and after careful observations, by its letter of June 09, 2021, recommended that Certificate of “NO OBJECTION can only be given to the Federal Ministry of Transportation for the Reconstruction of Narrow Gauge Track from Minna to Baro with Extension to the Baro River Port in favour that after technical and financial prequalification hinged on economic advantage is ‘being economically advantageous you would reach the conclusion that the bid of CCECC is more economically advantageous to Our
Dear country that is struggling in economic quagmire, especially as the difference between the bid of CCECC and that of Consortium of Duluidas (NIg-) Limited; Duliz Dredging & Construction Limited/Habbei Yixin Fastener Co. Ltd, is a whooping N15 Billion lower in cost even after both have been adjudged technically competent, meaning that our client should have won the bid using the economically advantageous criteria, if the principle of fairness was applied by you.

“Regrettably once again, NRC never communicated this report formally to our client or its technical partner, till date, but it merely relied on the pre-qualitication due diligence on the consortium upon which BPP had earlier on made its recommendations in favour of the consortium.

“The only post qualification exercise conducted on the Consortium to the best of our knowledge, are the two letters written to confirm the financial capability of both Duluidas (Nig.) Limited &Duliz Dredging & Construction Limited, respectively; and the claimed “simple search of Habbei Yixin Fastener Co. Ltd. China website” in an attempt to mislead the BPP.

“Our client wish to unequivocally state here that your letter of 11th August2021 to the BPP through the Federal Ministry of Transportation, is an infraction and the decision reached on it by the BPP cannot and should not be allowed to stand because our client wrote a letter to you dated 12 July, 2021, as a necessary partner in the bid process, and formally requesting for an update on the BPP’s letter of 9 June 2021, to which you never responded.
“Our client believes that your handling of the entire process was tainted with bias and undue favoritism and the entire process was fraudulent especially by failing to follow due process set by you.”

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