From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is embroiled in another contract scandal, this time for awarding a contract for the construction of a mosque located in Bauchi State at the cost of N30 million.
This was contained in a letter dated December 10, 2020, entitled: ‘Award of Contract for the Construction of ‘Friday Mosque”.
The contract agreement was signed by the Deputy Director, Procurement, Musa A Musa, on behalf of the Minister, Sabo Nanono, and awarded to El-Shukhur Multi-Buz Nig Limited.
In 2020, President Muhammdu Buhari, through the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, had queried the then Permanent Secretaries, Abduldkadir Mua’zu and Mohammed Bello, for purchasing a dilapidated building at the cost of N7 billion that would require additional N4 billion to repair.
Some of the contracts were diverted and some contractors owed to the tune of N1 billion, a situation that led to massive protests that grounded the ministry.
The query read in part:
‘In spite of the budgetary release of the N98, 405, 763, 678 .68 in 2018 (which represents 99.44 of 2018 appropriation), you did not take necessary action to pay the eligible contractors which led to the ministry having an outstanding contractual liability in the sum of N48.429,543,895.722.
‘Under your watch as the accounting officer, the ministry procured seven deep drilling rigs for borehole at an average cost of N300,000,000. 00 without recourse to the Federal Executive Council;
‘In April, 2019, you gave out the seven rigs procured at over NI .3 billion to some individuals under fraudulent arrangements, without the approval of the minister; and one of the rigs linked to you is yet to be returned despite several written reminders; and
‘You misapplied the intervention funds approved for the purchase of strategic grains and the establishment of the Rural Grazing Area Settlements in violation of extent Financial Regulations.’
The recent letter obtained by Daily Sun, read:
‘I am directed to inform you that the ministerial Tender Board at its 7th meeting held on the 7th December, 2020 approved the award of contract for the construction of’Friday Mosque’to your company at the total contract sum of N30,000,000,00 (Thirsty Million Naira) only, inclusive of VAT, with a completion period of eight (Eight) weeks, with effect from the date of this letter.
‘You are therefore required to indicate in writing with three (3) days of receipt of this offer, your acceptance to the office of the Director of Procurement, FMARD, Abuja or otherwise, the offer will be considered lapsed.
‘Thereafter, you are to liaise with the Director of (Animal Husbandry Services)for adequate supervision of the contract and the Director (Legal Services) for signing of the Contract Agreement.
‘Please, note that the Contract is not transferable and the cost is fixed, firm and request for price variation will not be entertained.
‘It is expected that the Contract will be executed in strict compliance with the BOQ/Specifications and in line with relevant clauses in the Bidding Document and Contract Agreement.’