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Group Petitions AGF Over Procurement Improprieties at NIFOR

Petition Copied to ICPC, EFCC

A Civil Society Group, Mandate Civil Society for Good Governance has petitioned the Accountant- General of the Federation with copies to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) as well as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) over alleged violations of the Public Procurement Act being perpetrated at the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research, located in Benin City the Edo State capital..

“We – the members and Executives of the Mandate Civil Society for Good Governance (M.C.S.G.G.) wish to inform you of the violation of the Public procurement Act by the Management of the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm research, Benin City.

The body alleged that the Institute’s funds are being transferred to personal accounts of a staff of the Institute for the execution of private individual business thereby usurping the role of the organsation.

It says that its previous petitions had caused the Accountant- General to commission a probe into the matter which led to a confirmation of the said violation. Apparently dissatisfied with the lack of corrective or punitive action on the matter, it has now repeated the petition while also bringing it to the attention of the Anti- Graft Agencies. Also copied is the Federal Minister of Agriculture and Food Security.

The petition signed by its National Coordinator, Osaretin Aimenoyaevbo Esq, states that, ” One of the issues that were highlighted was how a staff of the Institute became a contractor to the Federal Government in the implementation of Constituency projects. He was made to enter into agreements through memorandum of understanding like every other contractor in the implementation of capital projects.

“We are aware that transfer of capital funds to private account is in violation of the public procurement Act as only companies accredited through due diligence are permitted to participate in the bidding process and in the event where an Institution is specialized in providing such goods, works and services, such Institutions are made to participate in the procurement process as Institutions and not when individuals within the organization begin to act as contractors in the Federal Government capital expenditure process.

The Civil Society Group further stressed that it is particularly “baffled that a staff of NIFOR and a Director of Research have been a contractor to the Federal Government since year 2022 to date during which time, more than twenty million naira (N20million) have been paid directly to his account as the contractor in charge of implementing constituency projects in two different locations.

What this means is that the said staff who ought to act on behalf of the Institute chose rather to execute the contract in his own personal capacity in clear contravention of the rules.
“The Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research as an Organization can be approved to implement a capital project especially if it falls within its mandate even though its staff members will be made to draw such funds following the financial regulatory guidelines for public servants. Outright transfer of more than N20million capital funds into the private account of a public servant is an act of corruption especially when such funds are much higher than the two hundred thousand naira maximum limit for civil servants per request.

The Group therefore calls on “the relevant Government agencies to investigate and stop this reckless act of corruption and ensure that all monies wrongly appropriated and transferred are returned to the federal Government coffers.

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