By Dennis Abayomi
In a receipted petition dated August 21, 2019, issued by an anti-corruption group and signed by Mr. Debo Adeniran as the Director-General of CACOL, it was alleged that on December 31, 2018, the State Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy affairs vide letter Ref. No. MLGA/ADM/S/333/T, had awarded a contract to Wuro Suyo Investment Nigeria Limited, Bauchi for the supply of Agro-Allied Chemicals for a fumigation exercise at primary schools blocks and other public buildings at the contract sum of N418, 425,000.00 which was neither advertized for bidding nor made public.
The petitioners had alleged that the said Wuro Suyo Investment Nigeria Limited did not at any time tendered or solicited for the said contract but the company’s platform was used by one Yusuf Abdullahi of ATAP who is suspected to be a front used to allegedly divert public funds under the guise of the said contract.
The petitioners stated that from an in-depth investigation conducted by this medium within five local government areas of the state;- Bauchi, Alkaleri, Warji, Ningi and Ganjuwa, reveals that such an exercise was never conducted in any of the existing public schools and buildings anywhere as claimed, stating that on award of the supply of the Agro-Allied chemicals, the Corporate Account of one Nazir Gidado (Managing Director of Wuro-Suyo Investment Nigeria Limited) was credited with the sum of N186, 200,000.00 being 50% of the total contract sum as mobilization fee.
It was revealed that the said down payment of 50% mobilization violates the tenets of Financial Regulation and Public Procurement Act of 2010.
“The, said contract was awarded to Yusuf Abdullahi of ATAP as his contact address while the platform of WURO SUYO INVESTMENT NIGERIA LIMITED was used as there is no trace of where the said exercise was conducted to justify the expended amount. Yusuf Abdullahi was dragged to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by Wuro Suyo Investment Nigeria Limited for reneging on the agreement of payment of 10% of the total contract sum to the company for the use of their platform.
“In a letter dated 20th February, 2019 addressed to Yusuf Abdullahi by AN-NUR CHAMBERS on behalf of Wuro Suyo Investment Nigeria Limited for the immediate payment of the sum of N38.2 million being 10% of the proceed of contract executed by Wuro Suyo Investment Nigeria Limited and some vital documents of the company, AN-NUR chambers demanded among other things the immediate payment of the demanded sum alongside the following vital documents within 7 (seven) days of service of that notice. The documents include;- the contract agreement, certificate of due process, progress pictures of the contract execution, letters of certification of contract execution from each of the 20 local government areas and certificate of completion of contract and receipt of revenue of the company in respect of the contract.
“Responding to the letter of AN-NUR CHAMBERS, K. Magaji & Associates, Solicitors to Yusuf Abdullahi stated that their client had earlier receipted a letter dated January 17, 2019 from Sahel Chambers and the parties had sat and resolved their differences on January 30, 2019.
The case was later amicably resolved and withdrawn from EFCC after the intervention of legal practitioners on the agreement of the payment of N15million in two installments as amicably agreed for the withdrawal of the case from EFCC. As contained in the agreement, Yusufu was to pay the sum of N7.5million on June 25, 2019 while the remaining balance shall be paid on the day Wuro Suyo Investment Nigeria Limited withdraws its complain from EFCC.
“The Ministry was allegedly aware of the incapacitation of Yusuf Abdullahi to handle such an important contract that was suspiciously awarded to him without having a qualified company and without bidding but invited possibly as a ‘front’ for the scam as stated.
In compliance with the ethics of the journalism profession of balancing, a copy of the said petition was reproduced by this medium for the perusal of the State Ministry for Local Governments and Chieftaincy Affairs and submitted to the permanent secretary, Ali Babayo with a request to have their response, possibly with supporting documents to justify the award of the contract and execution, including the list of those public schools and buildings that benefitted from the exercise which can be identified for further verification for objectivity.
“We shall also be glad to know if it is within the Constitutional powers and operational guidelines of the ministry to award contracts for fumigation of public schools and public buildings in the local government areas”.
Reacting to the petition, the permanent secretary in the company of all the directors and Yusuf Abdullahi said: “Wuro Suyo Investment Nigeria Limited was overpaid the sum of N9million which was reported to EFCC in respect of the contract. We are waiting for that refund and the contract was executed. There was no scam as claimed”.
The lingering question begging for answer that should be handled by anti-corruption agencies is why was the contract awarded to Yusuf Abdullahi who had no registered company of his own and why was the contract overpaid and why was the clause in the official award of contract of not transferring awarded contract or letting out to another person or party violated in this case?