Former Governor of Lagos and current Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has debunked a report which alleged that he was involved in a road contract fraud in the 2016 appropriation year.
It was reported that the minister bypassed due process to award a N166 billion road contract to companys which it said were not equal to the task as allegedly flagged off by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).
Fashola in a communiqué from his Senior Special Adviser on Communication, Mr. Hakeem Bello, yesterday in Abuja however stated that at the moment, no new road contracts have been awarded based on the 2016 budget, and as such no money paid.
He said in the statement that the report which said he circumvented a due diligence process from the BPP to award the contracts was sensational and called on Nigerians to disregard it.
According to him, the report contained contradictions and was less altruistic in its intentions. He added that the government President Muhammadu Buhari has remained emphatic on due process and efficiency of its institutions, and as such he could not have committed such act.
The statement said: “To start with, the report established the fact that there was an evaluation committee made up of a chairman and members who are ranking professionals in their own right. Even by its own admission, the report that went to the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) was the work of the evaluation committee which does not have the minister as member.
“Except the publication was insinuating that the committee colluded to perpetrate fraud for itself and the ministry, which is not the case, then going to town about “Fashola” being in a “contract mess” leaves much to be desired.”
It further stated that the report contradicted itself by accepting that a public advertisement for the job was put up as requested by law and the list of selected contractor sent to the BPP.
“If the ministry does what is expected of it by law and the institution of government that it went to did its job, in what way does it amount to a ‘mess?’
“It is pertinent to inform Nigerians that as at this moment, no new contracts have been awarded to date based on the 2016 appropriation and as such no single kobo has been paid,” it added.
Insisting that the last approving authority for the threshold of public jobs in Nigeria was the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and not the BPP, Fashola said in the statement: “In a regime emphasising due process and underscoring efficient institutions, it should be a source of worry if the BPP certifies every piece of document that goes to it as being okay. So, rather than sensationalise public institutions doing its job, it would be advisable for media organisations to educate its personnel on how the procurement system works.”