Between Etteh and probe panel

3 Comments » September 12th, 2007 posted by // Categories: Favorite Articles

IT may not be an overstatement to say that the House of Representatives nearly reached a breaking point last week. It was as if the Speaker, Honourable Olubunmi Etteh, was going to be chased out of office and a Speaker extempore would emerge.

This line of thinking could be said to represent the view of majority of members of the House of Representatives who have since formed themselves into various groups clamouring for the probe of the Speaker over the N628 million renovation contract involving Honourable Etteh and some members of the House leadership.

Indeed, when the House of Representatives resumed sitting l

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3 Responses to “Between Etteh and probe panel”

  1. summadom says:

    But where is the police? Where is the EFCC? Where is the leader of the party who should be providing leadership and direction to his caucus?

    In a government that puts rhetoric premium on the rule of law, how come no state agencies are taking an interest in a potential fraud case?

    What, pray, happened to the Sunday Ehindero scandal? Why does Yar’Adua’s incarnation of the "rule of law" always disappear when someone actually breaks the law?

    If Y’Adua is indebted to Ibori, is he also indebted to Eteh? Or is this man just spineless?

    The subjugation of the EFCC and similar bodies under politicians and political appointees is the greatest hindrance to the war against corruption, and the clearest indication that Yar’Adua’s government is totally unserious about enforcing the rule of law. This government is dishonest and corrupt and no different from the government preceeding it. Delcaring assets and "personal example" means absolutely nothing if you hug criminals and convicts in public, and if look the other way when people break the law.

    Unchain the EFCC/ICPC must be unchained from political control. Let electoral and crime fighting commissioners be nominated under the same procedures as supreme court justices.

  2. alukome says:

    N628m House contract: N-Assembly Clerk admits violation of due process

    By Leon Usigbe
    Posted to the Web: Saturday, September 15, 2007


  3. alukome says:

    September 15, 2007

    More Lapses Uncovered In Contract Awards

    * Director:Some Companies Not In CAC Register


    AS investigations into the award of contract for the renovation of the official residences of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs. Patricia Olubunmi Etteh and the deputy, Babangida Seidu Nguroje, continued yesterday, the Director of Legal Services in the National Assembly, Sani Omolori, admitted that due process might have been violated in the process of awarding the contract to beneficiary-companies.

    Omolori, however, argued that on the part of the management of the National Assembly, the necessary procedures were substantially followed. He maintained that he was not in the position to speak for the body of the principal officers of the House that gave the final approval for the contracts.

    He explained that the meeting of principal officers with the management of the National Assembly where the contracts were finally awarded had two components, namely: the principal officers of the House and the National Assembly management, pointing out that those who represented the management, including himself, were mere observers.

    He vetted the contract and drafted the agreement based on the content of the contract which was handled by the body of principal officers. "We attended the meeting as observers and I want to say that on the part of management, we did the best in the circumstance because it was a situation where we were invited today and the contracts were awarded tomorrow", he said.

    The director also explained that he did due diligence on the companies that benefited from the contracts at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) after the award because there was no time to do it before the award and his findings at the commission showed that some of the companies were not registered with the commission. He, however, said that the major contractors were registered. "We did the due diligence at the CAC after the award of the contracts because there was no time for us to do so before the award and when it was done, we found out that some of the companies were not registered but not the major companies", he said.

    Asked by the committee why he went ahead to prepare the agreement despite the fact that there was no Bill of Quantities (BOQ), Omolori said there were some professionals whose responsibility it was to look at those areas, insisting that he drafted the document based on the conditions of contract brought before him.

    When reminded that from the available evidence, it was clear that due process was not followed in the award of the contracts, the director said rather philosophically, " if you insist".

    When the committee told him that he did not guide the Body of Principal Officers in the process, he said the only issue that was referred to him at the meeting was advance payment and he told the committee that the 80 percent being demanded by the contractors was above the ordinary. He added that he insisted on 25 percent which was agreed upon by the meeting. ‘As far as the management group was concerned, I am satisfied that we did the right thing but for the Body of Principal Officers, I don’t think even the CNA can speak for them", he reiterated.

    The director of finance and supply in the National Assembly, Olayide Owolabi Adelani, who also appeared before the panel yesterday, explained that the money which was used for the purchase of the vehicles for the principal officers of the House was provided for in the 2007 budget. He said in the budget, there was a provision for utility vehicles and those vehicles bought for the principal officers formed part of the utility vehicles.

    A member of the committee, Habeeb Fashinro, however, disagreed with him that in the budget, every item was provided for under specific sub-heads and not just utility, but purchase of cars for the principal officers was not contained.

    The director had some difficulty responding to a question asked by Saleh Mubir on how the N59million paid as mobilization to the contractors would be recovered since the contracts might be revoked for obvious lapses.

    Mujibir also said that the mobilization fee was not covered by any bond,and that it was a free money given to the contractors. Adelani said in such circumstance, the work so far done by the contractors would be evaluated and the differences would be settled. The panel adjourned for some members to attend the Jumat prayers and reconvene at 3pm .

    Also testifying yesterday, the Clerk of the National Assembly admitted that the processes followed in the award of the controversial house renovation contract was irregular. Arab posited that he would have done things differently under normal crcumstances.

    Arab informed the committee that the circumstances under which the contracts were awarded were not normal in the sense that the National Assembly bureacracy was under intense pressure of time to renovate the official residence of the Speaker.

    Arab equally explained that the legislature’s management relied on Federal financial regulations in resorting to selective tendering of the renovation contract rather than the open tender method.

    In the course of fielding questions from the lawmakers the CNA disclosed that the quotations received by him did not come directly to his table as first port of call for action but was forwarded by the Speaker directingthat he processed it.

    In course of answering questions also, Arab confirmed to the panel that the renovation of the official residence of the Deputy Speaker which is yet to be inhabited by anybody since its completion last year, was awarded for N90 million as against N29 million for which the Deputy Senate President’s residence was renovated.

    The taking of testimonies from the management of the National Assembly came to an end yesterday.

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