Fraudulent Contract Awards Scandal Rocks Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC)

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  • Alhaji Yakubu Gambo (Executive Director Special Intervention Programme) At The Center Of The Scam-Anti-Corruption Group
  • UBEC Now Serves As Political Wing Of House Of Reps Speaker, Dogara Yakubu—Anti-Corruption Group
  • Commission Now Award Contracts To Speakers Friends And Political Associates-Anti-Corruption Group

The Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC is at the moment enmeshed in series of scandal which ranges from fraudulent contract awards, among others.

In a petition addressed to the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, accused the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, of selective of contract awards which it said it is bedeviling transparency in the commission.

The petition dated 8th August, read thus; “Respectfully Sir, as Advocates of Transparency and Probity and visible partners to the efforts of the anti-corruption agencies, we deem it imperative to draw the attention of your Commission to the ongoing suspected contracts award scandal in the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) at this material time in question that the Federal Government has shown more determination and sincerity to wipe out corruption and other related offences from Nigerian shores.”

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According to the petitioners, in their petition stated that; “The ongoing contract scam at UBEC clearly shows that the Commission is operating on the opposite side of the President Muhammadu Buhari anti-corruption system of government as most of those piloting the affairs of the Commission are suspected Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) apologists of the past dark era of an institutionalized corrupt system erroneously retained to continue with business as usual.

“From investigation, most contracts hitherto awarded by the Commission were on the directive of selected PDP national leaders particularly the former national chairman, Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu who remote-controlled the Commission from the dark,” the petitioners stated.

UBEC Management Still In Romance With Corruption And Stealing:

The petition also stated that; “UBEC management from our investigation is still in romance with the discarded operational system of the past when corruption and stealing by public officers was fashionable, competitive, celebrated and a pride that almost forced Nigeria to its knees that necessitated the change of government in 2015.

From available facts at our disposal, most contracts emanating from the Commission are usually awarded to suspected fronts of highly placed public servants piloting the affairs of the Commission, especially those contracts from the Federal Government Special Intervention Programme (SIP).”

Executive Director Special Intervention Runs The Show In The Organisation In Terms Of Contract Awards:

According to petition signed by CACOL’s Northern Operations Coordinator, Nuhu  Danladi Masari he said; “at the centre of the scam, is one Alhaji Yakubu Gambo (Executive Director Special Intervention Programme) who singly award contracts under the guise of Constituency Projects of certain Honorable Members of the Federal House of Representatives. He was alleged to be the engine room of PDP henchmen who direct the award of contracts from the comfort of their offices even in the present system.”

“If we may ask, when has UBEC got the constitutional mandate to  award contracts on behalf of political office holders that it claims some of the contracts it awards form part of the constituency projects of certain politicians and are not paid by Commission as confirmed by Yakubu Gambo?,” the petitioners asked.

Asking further in its petition it said; “In such a case, who then is responsible for the payments of the contracts including supervision and issuance of Certificate of Completion? Are budgeted funds for constituency projects channeled through UBEC or it receives part of it to settle those contracts as claimed? If UBEC is responsible for the award of the contracts, what yardstick is used in the award of the contracts or are the private contracts? Is due process followed in the award or thrown to the dustbin for corrupt purposes against probity? These are few questions the Commission should be able to provide satisfactory answers in the course of investigation.”

Exposing How Nine Contracts Was Fraudulently  Awarded To A Single Contractor In One Year Without Bidding Or Due Process Applied

CACOL stated thus; “To buttress our point using the authentic list of beneficiaries of few contracts obtained from several others overtime, one of the companies used as suspected front is Kulpan Oil & Gas General Merchants owned by one Mr. John Tatnum of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area in Bauchi State.

A check at the Corporate Affairs Commission shows that Kulpan Oil & Gas General Merchants was not registered as a building construction firm but notwithstanding, it has been awarded several building construction contracts by UBEC that confirms the possibility of the company fronting for highly placed officials of the Commission or their external agents.

The said Company was awarded the following contracts without bidding or through Due Process which is a violation of the Public Procurement Act.”

List of 9 Contracts Awarded To Kulpan Oil and Gas General Merchants In One Year:

Construction of 2 blocks of 2 classrooms at Bazali in Dass Local Government Area of Bauchi State.

Construction of an Examination Hall at Dass Katanga

Construction of an Examination Hall at Lukshi

Construction of 1 block of 2 classrooms at Tatnum Bahram in Bogoro Local Government Area of Bauchi State.

Construction of an Examination Hall at Tatnum Bahram

Construction of 1 block of 2 classrooms at Sum in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State.

Construction of an Examination Hall at Sum of T/Balewa LGA

Construction of 2 Examination Halls in Lagos

One water project in Osun State

Further in its petition, it said that all the above outlined nine (9) contracts were awarded to a single contractor within one year without bidding or due process applied. If there was any bidding, we want names and addresses of those contracting firms that submitted their biddings for further investigation.

How UBEC Now Serves As Political Wing Of House Of Reps Speaker, Dogara Yakubu, Petitioner Alleges:

UBEC despite being a Federal Government Agency; “it presently serves as the political wing of the Honorable Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara as confirmed by staffers of the Commission. It allocates most of its contracts to political associates and friends of the Speaker without bidding and necessary documentation as further investigation would reveal.”

“Below are list of some of the Speaker’s associates patronized by UBEC suspected to be on the directive of the Speaker:-

Dauda Garba Bundot – (Awarded 2 blocks of 2 classrooms in Dass and a block of classroom at Bogoro) – Not a registered contractor with UBEC

Muhammed Sadiq – (Awarded 2 blocks of classrooms at Dass) – Not a registered contractor.

Ado Danladi Maigoro – (Awarded 2 blocks of classrooms at Dass) – Not a registered contractor with UBEC

Maryam Garba Bagel – Serving member Bauchi State House of Assembly (Awarded 2 blocks of classrooms at Dass) – Not a registered contractor.

Aminu Tukur – Serving member Bauchi State House of Assembly (Awarded 2 blocks of classrooms) – Not a registered contractor.”

Award Of Other Contracts Above N300 Million Not Within Special Intervention Programme:

The anti-corruption group also stated that apart from the above few stated cases;  “there are several other contracts above N300million awarded not within the Special Intervention Programme from the office of the Executive Secretary that should be further investigated to sanitize the system in tandem with the Change Philosophy of the present administration.”

Writing further it said; “Majority of those contracts were poorly executed, certified completed and duly paid without committing the contractor to extra charges for poor completion and not according specification.

In some cases in parts of Cross River and Osun states, some of the awarded contracts to fronts were not even executed but certified completed and paid.”

“It may further interest you to know that while other Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are battling the odds to inject sanity in their operations against the old discarded order of doing government business, in UBEC contract awards are openly traded by fronts to the highest bidder within its premises that signifies the level of corruption obtainable at that Commission similar to what was obtained in the Federal Capital Development Agency (FCDA) relating to land allocation in the dark days of sharp and unabated corrupt practices in Nigeria.”

“Sir, if UBEC claims that it handles the Constituency Projects of the Honorable Speaker, which of the Federal Government Agencies then handles those of the other Honorable Members? Are projects in Lagos, Osun and Cross River States also belongs to the Honorable Speaker as his constituency projects?, it asked.

Our Prayers:

“Having stated our case and our desire to see the Commission swing to action, we are confident that if proper investigation is conducted into the modus operandi of contract awards in UBEC, a lot of other hidden scams would surface and brought to the front burner for scrutiny, sanitization and the restoration of transparency in the Commission to tally with the expectation of Nigerians.

We are ready to offer other assistance to the Commission in the course of investigation if called upon and be rest assured of our cooperation.”

Universal Basic Education Commission’s Response:

When this medium wrote to UBEC for their response, this is what the commission has to say; “I am directed to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 27th October, 2017 on the above subject matter and to commend your efforts in seeking UBEC’s response to allegations of fraud relating to the management of Constituency Projects domiciled at UBEC, as reported by some online news platform and which you indicated is being investigated by your medium.”

“In UBEC’s response dated 31st October, 2017 with reference number: UBEC/ES/PR/20/III/5 said; “UBEC wishes to note that the issues alluded in your correspondence border primarily on the constituency projects that some members of the National Assembly domiciled at the UBE Commission. To this end, the commission wishes to make the following responses;

“UBEC awards contracts to companies that participate in its bidding process and in line with existing guidelines.

“Companies that elect to participate in the process, submit relevant corporate documents including Tax, ITF, NSITF, PENCOM, BPP, etc, show evidence of previous work done and emerge as successful in the process are always given the mandate to execute designated projects. At no point does a single individual award contracts in UBEC. More so, members of the National Assembly do not ‘remote control’ nor dictate to UBEC what it should or not do, in respect of the Constituency projects.

In the letter signed by the Special Assistant to the Executive Secretary, Baba Sali Song, it also said; “By reason of the fact that National Assembly members are at liberty to, or not to domicile their constituency projects at UBEC, the commission ensures that it liaises effectively with members who do so irrespective of their political inclinations. This becomes very imperative considering the fact that such members will play very vital roles in project cycle especially in documentation of the projects, identifying project location and further monitoring of implementation in partnership with other relevant stakeholders.

UBEC is not in any position to determine or isolate contractors that are fronts for leaders or members of the national assembly or loyalists of the PDP as there is no clearly defined method of doing so or sidelining them from the process which is open and accessible to every kind of interested party,” UBEC said.

“UBEC does not and has not awarded any contract for works that is beyond its threshold and fundamentally has not awarded any constituency project in the sum exceeding N300 million as claimed in your correspondence.”

“UBEC would like to be excused from being drawn into any political issues and debates especially at this period when the current management is doing all in its capacity to focus on its core mandate of creating the much needed enabling environment for delivering quality basic education services in all the states of the federation, in other words, all states are treated on equality basis.”

“Without any doubts, the issue canvassed in this allegation are completely untrue and are largely an attempt to drag the Commission into the myriad of ill-motivated political brawls that is soon emerging in the polity. “

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