By Ikenna Uwadileke
The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts on Wednesday expressed reservations over the award of N5.1 billion contract for renovation of the Headquarters of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in Lagos.
A report from office of the Auditor-General had alleged that there were some infractions in the process of awarding the contract.
The report said that while the contract was awarded in March, 2011, the contract agreement was signed in 2012.
It also accused the NPA of violating the extant rules by expanding the contract by additional work worth N54 million on the building without approval.
Responding, the Managing Director, NPA Hajia Hadiza Usman, said that the authority got an approval from the Federal Executive Council.
She said NPA also got a certificate of no objection from Bureau of Public Enterprise and other relevant documents for the award of the contract.
On the additional work, she said that the authority did not have the mandate “so that decision should not have been done by those who did it”.
While expressing dissatisfaction over the conduct of Sageto Contractors, the contractor handling the renovation work, Usman said that she instructed the firm to vacate the NPA premises.
She said that so far N4.1 billion was paid for the renovation work that was about 97 per cent completed.
However the General Manager, Physical Planning, NPA, Mr Idris Abubakar, said that NPA embarked on the additional work due to discovery of electricity cable underneath the construction area.
He explained that the cables affected the initial design.
In his ruling, the Committee Chairman, Kingsley Chinda mandated the NPA to furnish the committee with some documents relating to the contract.
They are bill of quantity, copies of authorised expenditure from the contingency fund, performance certificate for the work and details of procurement process.
Others are evidence of tax remittances to the Federal Inland Revenue Service, details of all payments made in the contract and copy of approval of design by the Lagos state government.
Chinda said that the committee would beam more light on the contract to ensure transparency and accountability.
“We want to confirm that the contract was actually and duly executed,” Chinda said.
The Committee also invited Sageto to appear before its members to throw more light on the alleged irregularities surrounding the award of the contract.