The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) has queried the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola over the award of 10 road and bridge contracts worth N166 billion.
The BPP said the minister and his ministry violated the laws guiding contract awards in Nigeria in the manner they selected contractors for the projects.
The procurement agency is asking Mr. Fashola to explain, among other things, why the costs of some of the projects were inflated and why some were awarded to unqualified firms.
The construction of the roads and bridges, spread across the country, were appropriated for in the ministry’s 2016 budget.
The projects are the rehabilitation of Numan-Jalingo Road awarded to Deux Projects Ltd for N11.7 billion; replacement of substandard bridges along Gusau-Sokoto Road awarded to Triacta Nig. Ltd (N1.01 billion); construction of Ojutu Bridge in Ilobu, Osun State awarded to Halicass Integrated Ltd (N522.2 million); construction of Ohan-Moro Bridge on Ilorin-Igbeti Road awarded to Bonus Nig. Ltd (N942.6 million); and rehabilitation of Abuja-Kaduna Road awarded to CGC Nig. Ltd (N26.9 billion).
Others are the rehabilitation of Kaduna-Zaria Road in Katsina State awarded to Arab Contractors Nig. Ltd for N14.8 billon; rehabilitation of Zaria-Kano Road in Kaduna/Kano State awarded to Reynold Construction Nig. Ltd (N69.9 billion); and the construction of Burga-Dull-Mbatill-TadnumGpbiya-Badagari-Gwaranga-Sum, Bauchi State awarded to Rahama Civil Works Nig. Ltd (N10.9 billion).
The construction of Tudun Wuss-Wandi-Wandi-Baraza-Durr-Zumbul-Polchi-Dot-Kwanar Road, Bauchi State awarded to Dalum Construction Nig. at N12.2 billion and the construction of Pankshin-Tapshin-Gambar-Sara-Kai-Gindiri Road in Plateau State awarded to Metropolitan Construction Company Limited at N15.3 billion are also among the contracts slated for award by the ministry.
They were subsequently invited to submit completed financial tender documents.
The ministry then carried out a verification exercise on some of the claims made by bidders in their technical bids.
After the verification exercise, the ministry wrote to the BPP to request the certificate of no objection for the recommended contractors.
However, the BPP objected to the award of the contracts citing various violations of the PPA Act.
The agency, in a report on the projects, exclusively obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, said it would not grant the ministry due process certificate until its concerns were “adequately addressed.”
The report was signed by the Director General of the BPP, Mamman Ahmadu.
In the 64-page report, the Bureau objected to the award of the contracts because “there are no evidence that feasibility and financial/economic studies were conducted during projects’ preparation.”
It also expressed surprise that the ministry failed to prepare Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the projects.
It said, “There are no evidence that the EIAs were prepared for the Projects and specifically no EIA Reports were submitted for this Due Process Review. The Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing should note that Environment Impact Assessment is a very crucial aspect of
How contracts were awarded
In line with the requirement of the Public Procurement Act, 2007, Mr. Fashola’s ministry had, in a letter dated November 7, 2016, requested the Bureau to issue it Due Process Certificate of “No Objection” for the award of the 10 contracts.
The ministry had earlier in June advertised the projects in some national newspapers as well as the Federal Tenders Journal edition of Monday, May 30- June 10, 2016.
An addendum to the advertisement was further placed in the same newspapers and Federal Tenders Journal of Monday, June 13-Sunday June 26, 2016.
On July 25, 2016, the prequalification documents were opened in the Conference Room of the Ministry in the presence of representatives of prospective contractors, non-governmental organizations, the Nigeria Society of Engineers and some member of the public as well as officials of the ministry.
In line with Part V, Clause 22, Section 4 of the Public Procurement Act (PPA) 2007, the Permanent Secretary/Chairman of the Ministerial Tenders Board constituted a Technical Evaluation Committee to evaluate the tenders received from prospective contractors.
The contractors successful in the technical evaluation exercise were “provisionally prequalified,” with their documents forwarded to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), and banks for verification.
Commenting specifically on each of the 10 projects one after the other, the Bureau noted that although the ministry recommended the lowest contractor for the N11.7 billion Numan-Jalingo Road project, most of the companies that submitted bids for the project were not in the same category and ranking that would enable proper benchmarking.
“Besides, the capacity of most of the firms to upgrade and extend the quality of the design and standard of this road cannot be guaranteed,” it stated further.
The Bureau, therefore, advised the ministry to carry out post-qualification on all the firms that submitted bids for this Lot to verify their actual capacities and eliminates firms that do not have the technical and financial capacity to execute the project.
On the replacement of substandard bridges along Gusau-Sokoto Road, the Bureau said the ministry considered the submission of Messrs. China Zhonghao and Ric Rock Construction Ltd that submitted the third and fourth lowest bids non-responsive.
It, however, noted that the basis for their disqualification was not made known by the ministry.
It asked the ministry to carry out post-qualification on all the firms that submitted for this Lot to verify their actual capacities and eliminate firms that do not have the technical and financial capacity to execute this project.
On the construction of Ojutu Bridge in Ilobu, Osun State, awarded to Halicass Integrated Ltd for N522.2 million, the BPP said the ministry indicated that the rates of the lowest four tenderers were too low while two of the contractors submitted bid securities that were not up to two percent of the contract sum as requested.