By Shina Abubakar, Osogbo
A civil society in Osun state, Transparency and Accountability Group, (TAG) has dragged the state government before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, as well as the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences, (ICPC) seeking the probe the award the flyover in the state to a contractor without any bidding process.
It also urged the anti-graft agencies to investigate the role of the state’s Commissioner for Works and Transport, Engr. Remi Omowaye in the contract award.
In two separate petitions written by the group to both agencies which was obtained by Saturday Vanguard in Osogbo on Friday, it urged the anti-graft bodies to investigate the process in a bid to ensure that the state is not defrauded by the state officials.
The petition reads, “Our attention is drawn to a recent decision by the Osun State Government to embark on a flyover construction at a popular location called Olaiya Junction in Osogbo, the capital city of Osun State. As laudable as the said project appears to be, the Osun State Government is short of being above board about the project, both in its conception and fiscal implementation.
“Specifically, there is in existence in Osun State, a Law called the State of Osun Public Procurement Law, 2015. The Law stipulates the A to Z procedures to be followed by the government, should it decide to procure any goods or services, including a project of the nature under consideration.
The government of Osun State is however in flagrant violation of the Law in the ways and means she employs in going about the said project’s execution, particularly in a manner that lends a heavy credence to the belief that the government and her principal actors are out to defraud the state (in spite of the state’s already heavy indebtedness), thereby further mortgaging the state’s future.
“To start with, and in more specific terms, it is our emphatic declaration that: since the enactment of the State of Osun Public Procurement Law, 2015, there cannot again be any public procurement by the state government of Osun without the involvement of the Osun Public Procurement Agency Governing Board (“the Board”).
“As at the time of writing this petition, (which is after the State government had awarded a contract for the flyover’s construction), there is no such Board in place in Osun State. To award a contract of the magnitude and nature of the said flyover, there shall be a call for bids by a way of advertisement. But, there was no such call for bids as advertised anywhere.
“Even if the government is seeking protection under Section 59 of the Public Procurement Law, 2015, the conditions stipulated under the section were still not met by the government in awarding the said contract, such as: the company to whom the contract is awarded was not arrived at upon any bidding at all, not even a “restricted bidding”.
The company to whom the contract is awarded is not known to have any “special skills, experience and proven track record…over a period of time”, as stipulated in the Law.
It is not established or in any way justified by the state government that the proposed flyover is one that can be constructed by only a limited number of contractors, and that the engaged contractor is one of the said limited number of contractors, and that bids were invited from such limited number of contractors, as required by the Law;
The state government parades a group of people and tags it the state’s Public Procurement Agency, but the purported ‘Agency’ is without the supervision of the Osun Public Procurement Agency Governing Board ( ‘‘the Board’’) to validate the Agency’s existence and operations, as required by the Law; and the “No Objection/Due Process Certification” purportedly issued by the “Agency” as now bandied by the state government, obviously to paper over her failure to follow the mandatory procedure laid down by the Law, is unknown to the State of Osun Public Procurement Law, 2015 (which is the state’s extant law governing the subject of this petition).
“According to the Osun State Government, the contract shall gulp a total sum of N2, 700, 000, 000 (Two Billion Seven Hundred Million Naira). Therefore, on the strength of all the above and many more facts at our disposal, the only explanation that can be given to the government’s decision to sidestep its own Law on the subject matter, is that she is up to some fiscal uncleanness.
“It is thus for purposes of safeguarding the state from being plunged into an avoidable financial accident, that we have by this intervention chosen to call the Commission’s attention to the sleaze that is about to be perpetrated by the drivers of the government of Osun State.
“We make bold to say that the man on whom the Commission’s searchlight may be particularly beamed is the state’s Commissioner for Works and Transport, Engr. Remi Omowaiye (+2348032205345). It may interest the Commission to seek to know this Commissioner’s personal relationship with the largest shareholder in the company named Messrs Peculiar Ultimate Concerns Limited (i.e. the contractor to whom the flyover’s construction is awarded, in contravention of the state’s procurement law).
“We look forward to receiving the Commission’s invitation should there be any need for our physical defence of this petition, in the interest of accountability and probity in governance”.