Senate quizzes NIMC for violating public procurement act in N229m contract
Senate Public Accounts Committee headed by Matthew Urhoghide has commenced investigation into the National Identity Management Commission’s (NIMC) non-compliance with Public Procurement Act in the award of a N229 million contract.
It based its query on the Auditor General of the Federation’s 2017 report, currently being considered by the lawmakers. Audit observed that capital payment vouchers reference number: NIMC/LS/IGL/1/11/105, dated October 25, 2017 for ₦229.7 million, showed that NIMC procured 22 units of HP blade servers for Morpho BSS upgrade.
“The items were supplied, but there was no evidence of Ministerial Tender’s Board approval, thus, negating the mandatory open competitive bidding. Public advertisement in at least two national dailies, as required by the Financial Regulation 2907 (1) and section 251(ii) of the Public Procurement Act was absent.
“There was an initial payment of N103.4 million through payment voucher number NIMC/01/016 CA/18 dated 19/01/18, representing 45 per cent of the contract sum, as against 15 per cent mobilisation fee. The other subsequent payments were not also backed by an interim performance certificate as required by Section 35(2) of the public procurement Act 2007.
“This is an indication of weakness in the NIMC’s internal control system, which could lead to poor value for money and possibility of misapplication and misappropriation of funds. No response was received from management at the time of our report, and as such the Director General is required to refund N229 million,” the memo reads.
However, Director General of NIMC, Aliyu Abubakar Aziz, claimed that the contract fell within the threshold of the Commission’s Tenders Board because, as it was classified under works.
He said the servers had been supplied before the payment of the initial 45 per cent, which represent part payment and not mobilisation due to lack of funds.
Abubakar explained to the committee that the amount was meant to procure 22 blade servers to accommodate 20 million enrollment records, adding that the contract was a continuation of procurement of enterprise servers and storage solution and equipment, which was awarded in 2012.
He added that the commission had registered 57 million Nigerians and that 90 servers are needed to register 100 million Nigerians, saying the NIMC would submit a proposal for N25 billion to buy more servers, but the committee insisted that it was wrong to continue 2012 procurement process in 2017.
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