Renovation of NPA headquarters at N5.1bn without contractual agreements – Reps committee

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The House of Representatives Committee on Thursday demanded the original copies of the contract agreement for the renovation of the headquarters of the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) insisting the N5.1 billion contract was awarded without a formal agreement between the agency an the company.

The House Committee on Public Accounts asked the management of the NPA to respond the audit query from the Auditor General of the Federation which suggested that the N5.1 billion contract was awarded in 2011 without a formal agreement between the NPA and Sagito Nigeria Limited and was to be completed in 2013.

The Auditor General of the Federation had raised a query on the contract awarded in 2011 with a completion period of 15 months but without a valid signed contractual agreement with the contracting firm, adding that the agreement for the project was eventually signed in December 2013 when the project was supposed to have been completed.

Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, Hon Wole Oke expressed reservation over the award of the contract without a validly signed contractual agreement as alleged by the Auditor General’s query.

Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman however told the Committee that the contract was approved for award by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and available records showed that there was a valid contractual agreement between the organisation and the contractor

But members of the Committee insisted that only the original copy of the signed agreement would clear the Agency of the audit query, adding that the signature page of the agreement resented to them did not contain any date, giving room for possible manipulations.

Also, members insisted that photo copies of the documents presented before the Committee were not readable, while copies of internal memo which are not supposed to be part of the documents were attached, leaving out the relevant ones.

The Committee Chairman however ruled that the audit query be stepped down for the Agency to produce the original copy of the contract for sighting by the committee, while clear copies of the documents should be resubmitted to them.

The contract was awarded for the renovations of the NPA Headquarters in Lagos and relocation of some of offices from the Headquarters to other locations.

The Auditor General had alleged in its query that as at 2013 when the contract ought to have been completed and money paid, there was no validly signed contractual agreement in place.

The Auditor General further alleged that the contractors were given approval to relocate some staff from the headquarters to another building for over N45 million in 2013.

The management of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, also appeared before the Committee but without the officers the Committee earlier insisted must appear physically over the audit query raised against the Service in the 2013-14 financial year.

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