Human Rights Group Advocates for People Right & Justice has raised an alarm over the alleged plans by the office of the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to divert, misappropriate funds meant for the payment of local contractors who are being over N18 Billion.
The group accused the office of the SSA to the President on MDGs of plans to divert the N15 Billion released for the payment of the contractors by awarding fresh contracts to themselves and cronies while deliberately refusing and neglecting to pay the contractors whom the funds were meant for.
In a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari signed by its National Coordinator, Victor Giwa the group accused the office of the Senior Special Adviser to the President on MDG of diversion of funds and perversion of some sections of the procurement Act.
According to Giwa” Your Excellency, the summary of the facts is that certain Nigerians, businessmen and small scale business owners and employers of labour had in 2013/2014 bided and won numerous contracts of over 40 billion naira, under the (OSSAP on MDGs) for various works in all the States of Nigeria. The contracts were executed, evaluated and confirmation was given by the relevant authority and certify action issued for onward payment.
“Sir, instead of prompt payment of the contractors, who had by their letter of awards, sought and received loans and other credit facilities from various Bank for the execution of the project, the former SSPA indulged in selective payment, manipulation and fund diversion, paying a meagre amount to the real contractors.
He noted that “however, after series of intense pressure and agitation from these contractors and the intervention of the former Minister of finance, Dr Ngozi Iweala, in 2014, the then SSAP, incorporated these contractors’ liabilities in the value of 15 billion naira, in the 2015 budget of her office, under the sub head MDG Intervention 1 and 2 and the contractors were pacify to wait for the release.
“It is shocking that while the SSAP is now in receipt of the said sum via a warrant of release dated 8th day of December, 2015, under the sub head MDG Intervention 1 and 2 , officers of the SSAP have failed, refuse and neglected to pay the said contractors their full sum. But has rather engaged in diversion of this fund into award of new contracts, for personal gains. This is in clear breach of the Fiscal Responsibility and Financial (control & management) Acts, Laws of the Federation. More so, the official even in the award of the new contract, have brazenly perverted the express provisions of section 30 (a-e) of Public Procurement Act, in that they neither permitted bidders or attendees to observe the bidding process nor did they cause all the bids to be made in the open.
Consequently, Your Excellency, we are seeking the following prayers:
(i).Immediate payment of the duly owed contractors through the MDG Intervention 1 & 2 releases
(ii) Outright cancellation or stoppage of the award of new contracts.
Giwa said that the group is an international human right organisation, saddled with the responsibilities of educating, protecting and the defence of the rights of citizens in Nigeria, through court action, media campaign, and public protests among others. We and that they were constrained to write based on the complaints and authority of the ASSOCIATION OF REGISTERED CONTRACTORS MDGS, NIGERIA.
“Your Excellency sir, permit me to firstly establish and affirm our unalloyed support for your administration, with regard to the fight against corruption, especially in ministries, extra ministerial offices agencies and parastalters. Sir, your excellent fight against corruption, which manifest in various forms like diversion of fund, misappropriation of fund, abuse of office and procurement Act and others, is not for your personal gratification but for public enrichment, so that the public and indeed Nigerians can collectively benefit from government services or opportunity in form of dividends of democracy” he added.
Giwa noted that” Your Excellency, your desire to stamp out public corruption and ensure that public officers conduct business of government, including procurement of goods, work and services are conducted with due process and in accord to law, recently led to the compulsory retirement of over 11 permanent secretaries in varying ministries. These actions among other no doubt eloquently reflect your unmistakenstance on Zero Tolerance to Corruption in public offices. Indeed Nigerians are appreciating of the change mantra.
“But sadly, Your Excellency, your message and effort to stamp out corruption in official spaces seem to be ignored by certain agencies, specifically and in this case, Office of Senior Special Assistant to the President, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (SSAP). This is based on the activities of the officers in this agency who are currently alleged to be involved in diversion of public fund, fund misappropriation, abuse of office and perversion of sections 30 (a-c) of Public Procurement Act., in the award of contracts.