Health Ministry Vehicle Scandal: ‘MDA Cannot Spend Above N50m’

Procurement expert and national coordinator, Procurement Coordinator And Advocacy Initiative (PRADIN) Mr Mohammed Attah, has said that no ministry, department and agency (MDA) of government has power to spend more than N50 million even in an emergency situation.
In an exclusive interview with Eyes Of Lagos  yesterday in Abuja, the procurement expert said while emergency situation could come at any time in the life of an organisation, the Public Procurement Act (2007) allows MDAs to carry out exercise of procurement in an emergency situation without due process but the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) must be put on notice.
“You are to carry out the exercise and return to the ministry and ask for certificate of no objection ‘to’ the contract awarded. Yes, you can have emergency as flood, outbreak of epidemic and others but MDA is not expected to spend beyond N50 million.
“Contract splitting in MDA is an offence under the PPA and virement is a fraud against the principle of transparency”, he said.
Attah was responding to the alleged petition against the purported procurement of 15 Toyota Hilux Vehicle at the Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Health.
Eyes Of Lagos recalls that a group under the aegis of Concerned Members of Staff of the Primary Health Care System In Nigeria, Federal Secretariat, Abuja on August 1, 2017 sent a petition to three anti-graft agencies including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) raising the alarm over the fraudulent procurement of 15 Toyota Hilux motor vehicles worth N337, 500, 000 million without due process by NPHCDA.
The petitioners accused the executive director of NPHCDA, of fraudulently withdrawing the said amount from the coffers of the Agency, in respect of the contract involving LanreShittu Motors Nig. Ltd, a private supply company.
The petitioners also alleged that the supply company had no existing contract with the Agency as at the time of payment which is a clear violation of the Public Procurement Act of 2007.
The petition reads in parts: “The N337, 500, 000 was not part of NPHCDA 2016 Procurement Plan. Reliable sources in NPHCDA indicate that Procurement of 15 Toyota Hilux Vehicles for states is not part of NPHCDA 2016 Procurement Plan. Effectively, the implication of the Executive Director’s action amounts to Virement which can only be undertaken with the approval of the National Assembly. This infraction is taken seriously under the 1999 Constitution (as amended). It is also an affront to the Public Procurement Act of 2007.
“Fraudulent Payment of N40, 556, 250 (Forty million, five hundred and fifty six thousand, two hundred and fifty Naira) to Supreme Equitable Insurance Brokers LTD for a non-existing motor vehicle insurance contract, at the time of payment, in respect of the 15 Toyota Hilux motor vehicles and additional vehicles. Payment was made to the Supreme Equitable insurance Brokers LTD account number 1771681235 in Skye Bank Plc”.
When Eyes Of Lagos visited some Toyota auto dealers in Abuja recently, the prices of 2015-16-17 models of Toyota Hilux Manual and Automatic, ranges between N18.5million and N19.5million respectively. The 2014 model is between N15million and N16million even as our correspondent was informed that it could be less in some companies around Abuja.
The director, Media and Public Relations in the office of the minister of Health, Mrs ‘BoadeAkintola, told Eyes Of Lagos that her office was never furnished with the petition from the group.
She however told our correspondent that all effort will be made to reach out to the executive director of NPHCDA for further clarification on the matter.
Sources within the ministry told Eyes Of Lagos that the NPHCDA claimed the recent meningitis that hit some parts of the country necessitated the contract award.

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