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Presidential Amnesty Office In Alleged N176m Consultancy Service Fraud, Summoned By Senate

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The Senate has summoned the Presidential Amnesty Programme Office for illegally paying N176 million for supply of stationeries and consultancy service for end of the year meeting and vocational training.
The Public Accounts Committee of the Senate, chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide, summoned the PAP Office.

It hinged the invitation on the report of the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation, which accused the Presidential Amnesty Office of financial mismanagement.

It was learnt that series of invitations had earlier been extended to Presidential Amnesty Office with no appearance.

Barring any last minute change of schedule, the Presidential Amnesty Office is expected to appear before Senate Panel next week Wednesday.

Findings from the report showed that N75 million was paid to contractor for the supply of stationery without due process and it was not subjected to competitive bidding.

Another N87 million was paid as consultancy fee for the provision of consultancy service to organise the end of year conference for the stakeholders of the Niger Delta region and date and venue of the conference was not disclosed.

In addition, N14 million was paid for Vocational Training and empowerment for the provision of vocational training and empowerment/business set up for 24 Niger Delta youths at an Institute in Akwuke, Enugu State

It was revealed that the payment of 15 per cent (N14 million) mobilisation was made without evidence of Bank Guarantee.

The query reads: “Audit observed that a payment voucher No. OSAPND/OC-C/368/2017 dated 18th December 2017 for the sum of N 87,917,500 (Eighty-seven million nine hundred and seventeen thousand five hundred naira only) was paid for the provision of consultancy service to organise the end of year conference for the stakeholders of the Niger Delta region.

“Further investigation revealed the following: 1. 2. 3. Date and venue of the conference not disclosed List of the stakeholders that attended the conference not attached The communique/report of the conference not sighted .

“No documentary evidence that the stakeholders conference was held.

“This could lead to misappropriation of public for The Special Adviser is required to respond to the issues raised in 1 to 4 above, otherwise the sum of N 87,917,500 (Seven million nine hundred and seventeen thousand five hundred naira only) should be recovered and paid to Treasury and evidence of recovery forwarded to National Assembly and the office of the Auditor General for the Federation for confirmation. In addition, sanctions in line with FR 3129 should apply.”

Another query reads: “Section 35(i) of the Public Procurement Act 2007 requires that, ‘all mobilization fee of not more than 15% supported by an unconditional bank guarantee or insurance bond may be paid to suppliers or contractor.’ Examination of payment voucher No: OSAPND/OC-C/082/2017 of 3rd July 2017 for the sum of N 14,931,000.00 (Fourteen million nine hundred and thirty-one thousand naira only) being 15% of the contract value for the provision of vocational training and empowerment/business set up for 24 Niger Delta youths at an Institute in Akwuke, Enugu State revealed that the payment of 15% mobilization was made without evidence of Bank Guarantee.

“The above action expose public fund to avoidable risk of loss should the contractor decide to abandon the programme.

“The Special Adviser is required to provide evidence of bank guarantee otherwise the sum of N 14,931,000.00 (Fourteen million nine hundred and thirty-one thousand naira only) should be recovered from the contractor and evidence of recovery be forwarded to the National Assembly as well as the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation for confirmation. Sanction in line with FR 3117 of should apply.”

The query on supply of stationery reads: Financial regulation 2922(iii) states that, ‘a national competitive bidding shall be advertised on the board of the procuring entity, and in the procurement journal, at least six (6) weeks before the dateline for submission of bids.’ Audit observed that the sum of N 75,282,900.00 (Seventy-five million two hundred and eighty two thousand nine hundred naira only) was paid to a contractor for the supply of stationery.

“Further scrutiny of the payment vouchers No; OSAPND/OC-C/87/2016 dated 28th December 2016 revealed that, the contract was awarded without due process as it was not subjected to competitive bidding, no letter of agreement signed etc, this action contravenes the FR quoted above.

“Award of contract without due process suggests likely misappropriation of funds. There is also the possibility that correct specification of items would not be supplied and value for money not derived.

“The Special Adviser is required to forward evidence that due process had been observed otherwise the sum of N 75,282,900.00 (Seventy-five million two hundred and eighty-two thousand nine hundred naira only) should be recovered and paid to the Subtreasurer of the Federation and evidence of the payment be forwarded to the National Assembly and the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation for verification.”

(This report, excluding headline contains information from The EagleOnline)

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