18 June 2015, Abuja – The controversy surrounding the approval of N929.6m legal contract towards the end of the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan for the liquidation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria deepened on Wednesday with the Bureau of Public Procurement denying issuing a no objection for the award of the contract.
The Head, Public Communications, BPE, Mr. Alex Okoh, had on Tuesday said the bureau had obtained approval from the BPP for contracts of N929.6m and N500m to Messrs J. K. Gadzama & Co and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation for consultancy relating to the winding down of the PHCN.
But in a statement issued by the Head of Media, BPP, Mr. Thomas Odemwingie, the agency denied the issuance of ‘No Objection’ to the BPE for the award of the consultancy contract and another N500m for the Office of Accountant General of the Federation.
Odemwingie said, “As of December 2014, the BPP, vide letter Ref. No. BPP/S.1/EID/14/Vol.I/046, refused to grant a ‘No Objection’ certificate for the engagement of a legal firm for this purpose.
“On the advice of the Attorney General of the Federation, the BPP had earlier on September 22, 2014, rejected the request for the issuance of the certificate of ‘No Objection’ to the contract award.
“The BPP certificate Ref. BPP/S13/VOLVIII/190 dated 2nd of September 2013 referred to by the BPE in favour of the legal firm was withdrawn and cancelled.
“Even when the AGF replied that we may consider revisiting our position and re-issue/revalidate our certificate, the BPP by the letter referred to in paragraph two above declined the request and approved only the engagement of Messrs. Ora Egbunike & Associates for the asset valuation services in the sum of N517,694,100.”
He added, “This approval for the engagement of Messrs Ora Egbunike & Associates was subsequently approved by the Federal Executive Council. There was no approval, to our knowledge, by either the President or Federal Executive Council for the engagement of the legal services.
“It may interest the general public to note that section 16(4) of the Public Procurement Act provides that any contract purported to be awarded without a certificate of ‘No Objection’ to contract award duly issued by the bureau shall be null and void.”
Odemwingie added that there was no basis for the award of the contract to the legal firm as claimed by the BPE.