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Friday, March 24, 2017

Grass Cutting scam: I've no power to give contracts – SGF

 ​The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Babachir David Lawal has said he does not award contracts as every contract must go through official process, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Lawal made this known while reacting to media reports Friday that he has been invited by the Senate to explain how fake firms got N1.3 billion contracts for grass cutting in the north east of the country as part of the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE).

Director of Press at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Bolaji Adebiyi, in a press statement made available to NaijaAgroNet, noted that the headlines of the news reports were in variance with the body of the story.

Warning that the general public should not be misled into the believe that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation has the authority or power to award contracts, stressing that this indeed, is not the case.  

“As with all awards of contract in government, the PINE projects under investigation, went through what is referred to as due process in public expenditure,” Adebiyi said.

The alleged contracts scam, he also said, were awarded only after the requisite clearances were obtained from the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).  

“It is expected that these clearances are obtained only when all conditions precedent to the awards of contracts are met.  Apart from the BPP huddle, the Tenders Board of the procuring agencies, in this instance, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, has to approve of the contracts before they are awarded.  At no time were these processes compromised in the award of contracts by PINE.  It must be emphasized also, that the SGF is not even a member of the Tenders Board,” he said.

Adebiyi maintained that the SGF despite his position in government cannot award contracts, explaining that he is not even a member of the Tenders Board.

“All contracts must, indeed, pass the acid test of obtaining clearance from the Bureau of Public Procurement and the scrutiny of the Tenders Board,” he insisted.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that PINE contracts were usually awarded following strict compliance with public expenditure and procurement processes.  

Just as Adebiyi declared that all PINE projects were properly and satisfactorily executed, while the beneficiaries have continued to express their appreciation to the Federal Government for PINE intervention, which in several instance, has accelerated the return of normalcy to hitherto ravaged communities.

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE
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Pix: SGF Babachir David Lawal

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