The Northern States chapter of a Lagos based Non-Governmental Organization, CACOL, has alleged an ongoing contracts award scam in the Federal Government’s Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) that deserves further investigation to sanitize the agency for optimum result and in tandem with the anti-corruption war of the Buhari administration.
In a letter of petition addressed to the Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and Other related Crimes signed by the NGO’s Northern Operations Coordinator, Nuhu Danladi Masari and made available to this medium, it was alleged that at the centre of the various contract award scams is an executive director in-charge of Special Intervention Programme (SIP), Alh. Yakubu Gambo, allegedly a remnant of the PDP discarded corrupt system that nearly crippled the country.
According to the petition, within one year, a single businessman masquerading as a ‘contractor’ was favored with nine (9) building construction contracts by the Commission without any bidding while several other duly registered contractors were denied the right in spite of meeting all the requirements for the said contracts.
The NGO alleged that in desperation for unhealthy favor from the Honorable Speaker of the House of Representatives against civil service rules and probity, several of the contracts under question were awarded, to suspected political associates of the Speaker from Bauchi state some of which are even serving members of the Bauchi State House of Assembly who are not registered contracts and submitted no genuine bidding for the awarded contracts that contravenes the Public Procurement Act.
The anti-corruption organization drew the attention of ICPC on the need to zoom, its searchlight on UBEC in an effort to rid the Commission of remnants of corrupt public servants that are yet to repent from their style of corrupt practices under the guise of party patronage.
Reacting to the allegations on phone, Yakubu Gambo said: “those alleged contracts are for Dogara’s constituency projects and not paid by UBEC”. In order to probably dodge from further enquiries on the alleged scandals, Gambo switched-off his two known mobile phone numbers but not until he promised to get back to our reporter which he never did up to the time of filing this reports.
The Humanity Centre
610 Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, Ijaye Bus Stop, Ijaye-Ojokoro, Lagos
Date: August 8, 2017
The Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission,
National Headquarters, Abuja.
A CALL FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION OF SELECTIVE CONTRACT AWARDS, BEDEVILING TRANSPARENCY IN THE UNIVERSAL BASIC EDUCATION COMMISSION (UBEC)
Respectfully Sir, as Advocates of Transparency and Probity and visible partners to the efforts of the anti-corruption agencies, we deem it imperative to draw the attention of your Commission to the ongoing suspected contracts award scandal in the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) at this material time in question that the Federal Government has shown more determination and sincerity to wipe out corruption and other related offences from Nigerian shores.
The ongoing contract scam at UBEC clearly shows that the Commission is operating on the opposite side of the President Muhammadu Buhari anti-corruption system of government as most of those piloting the affairs of the Commission are suspected Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) apologists of the past dark era of an institutionalized corrupt system erroneously retained to continue with business as usual.
From investigation, most contracts hitherto awarded by the Commission were on the directive of selected PDP national leaders particularly the former national chairman, Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu who remote-controlled the Commission from the dark.
UBEC management from our investigation is still in romance with the discarded operational system of the past when corruption and stealing by public officers was fashionable, competitive, celebrated and a pride that almost forced Nigeria to its knees that necessitated the change of government in 2015.
From available facts at our disposal, most contracts emanating from the Commission are usually awarded to suspected fronts of highly placed public servants piloting the affairs of the Commission, especially those contracts from the Federal Government Special Intervention Programme (SIP).
Sir, at the centre of the scam, is one Alhaji Yakubu Gambo (Executive Director Special Intervention Programme) who singly award contracts under the guise of Constituency Projects of certain Honorable Members of the Federal House of Representatives. He was alleged to be the engine room of PDP henchmen who direct the award of contracts from the comfort of their offices even in the present system.
If we may ask, when has UBEC got the constitutional mandate to award contracts on behalf of political office holders that it claims some of the contracts it awards form part of the constituency projects of certain politicians and are not paid by Commission as confirmed by Yakubu Gambo? In such a case, who then is responsible for the payments of the contracts including supervision and issuance of Certificate of Completion? Are budgeted funds for constituency projects channeled through UBEC or it receives part of it to settle those contracts as claimed? If UBEC is responsible for the award of the contracts, what yardstick is used in the award of the contracts or are the private contracts? Is due process followed in the award or thrown to the dustbin for corrupt purposes against probity? These are few questions the Commission should be able to provide satisfactory answers in the course of investigation.
To buttress our point using the authentic list of beneficiaries of few contracts obtained from several others overtime, one of the companies used as suspected front is Kulpan Oil & Gas General Merchants owned by one Mr. John Tatnum of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area in Bauchi State.
A check at the Corporate Affairs Commission shows that Kulpan Oil & Gas General Merchants was not registered as a building construction firm but notwithstanding, it has been awarded several building construction contracts by UBEC that confirms the possibility of the company fronting for highly placed officials of the Commission or their external agents.
- The said Company was awarded the following contracts without bidding or through Due Process which is a violation of the Public Procurement Act.
- Construction of 2 blocks of 2 classrooms at Bazali in Dass Local Government Area of Bauchi State.
- Construction of an Examination Hall at Dass Katanga
- Construction of an Examination Hall at Lukshi
- Construction of 1 block of 2 classrooms at Tatnum Bahram in Bogoro Local Government Area of Bauchi State.
- Construction of an Examination Hall at Tatnum Bahram
- Construction of 1 block of 2 classrooms at Sum in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State.
- Construction of an Examination Hall at Sum of T/Balewa LGA
- Construction of 2 Examination Halls in Lagos
- One water project in Osun State
- All the above outlined nine (9) contracts were awarded to a single contractor within one year without bidding or due process applied. If there was any bidding, we want names and addresses of those contracting firms that submitted their biddings for further investigation.
- UBEC despite being a Federal Government Agency, it presently serves as the political wing of the Honorable Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara as confirmed by staffers of the Commission. It allocates most of its contracts to political associates and friends of the Speaker without bidding and necessary documentation as further investigation would reveal. Below is a list of some of the Speaker’s associates patronized by UBEC suspected to be on the directive of the Speaker:-
- Dauda Garba Bundot – (Awarded 2 blocks of 2 classrooms in Dass and a block of classroom at Bogoro) – Not a registered contractor with UBEC
- Muhammed Sadiq – (Awarded 2 blocks of classrooms at Dass) – Not a registered contractor.
- Ado Danladi Maigoro – (Awarded 2 blocks of classrooms at Dass) – Not a registered contractor with UBEC
- Maryam Garba Bagel – Serving member Bauchi State House of Assembly (Awarded 2 blocks of classrooms at Dass) – Not a registered contractor.
- Aminu Tukur – Serving member Bauchi State House of Assembly (Awarded 2 blocks of classrooms) – Not a registered contractor.
- Apart from the above few stated cases, there are several other contracts above N300million awarded not within the Special Intervention Programme from the office of the Executive Secretary that should be further investigated to sanitize the system in tandem with the Change Philosophy of the present administration.
- Majority of those contracts were poorly executed, certified completed and duly paid without committing the contractor to extra charges for poor completion and not according specification.
- In some cases in parts of Cross River and Osun states, some of the awarded contracts to fronts were not even executed but certified completed and paid.
- It may further interest you to know that while other Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are battling the odds to inject sanity in their operations against the old discarded order of doing government business, in UBEC contract awards are openly traded by fronts to the highest bidder within its premises that signifies the level of corruption obtainable at that Commission similar to what was obtained in the Federal Capital Development Agency (FCDA) relating to land allocation in the dark days of sharp and unabated corrupt practices in Nigeria.
- Sir, if UBEC claims that it handles the Constituency Projects of the Honorable Speaker, which of the Federal Government Agencies then handles those of the other Honorable Members?
- Are projects in Lagos, Osun and Cross River States also belongs to the Honorable Speaker as his constituency projects?
Having stated our case and our desire to see the Commission swing to action, we are confident that if proper investigation is conducted into the modus operandi of contract awards in UBEC, a lot of other hidden scams would surface and brought to the front burner for scrutiny, sanitization and the restoration of transparency in the Commission to tally with the expectation of Nigerians.
We are ready to offer other assistance to the Commission in the course of investigation if called upon and be rest assured of our cooperation.
Cc: The Executive Secretary,
Universal Basic Education Commission,
National Headquarters, Abuja
Cc: Media Organizations
Nuhu Danladi Masari
Northern Operations Coordinator