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Public procurement act aiding corruption in award of contracts –EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says there is an urgent need to rework the laws that established the Bureau of Public Procurements in…

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says there is an urgent need to rework the laws that established the Bureau of Public Procurements in order to reduce corruption that comes with the award of contracts.

The anti-graft agency specifically said the law had not really aided any prosecution or helped to secure conviction of any corrupt individuals.

Ola Olukoyede, the Chairman of the EFCC, stated these at the headquarters of the commission in Jabi Area of Abuja when he hosted the management team of BPP, led by Mamman Ahmadu.

The EFCC boss stressed that there are so many areas to be worked on in order to prevent corruption in the award of contracts, saying there is no need to wait until a contract is awarded and money stolen.

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“Over the years, you have been able to define certain scopes that are helping to drive our contract and procurement award processes but we still notice that there is still much more to be done.

“In fact, the law has not been fully operationalized. We also discovered that the law as it is has not aided prosecution much. It has to be reviewed.

“I am not sure that I can remember any specific case where we secured a conviction using the provisions of the Bureau of Public Procurement Act. I am not sure that the EFCC has secured any conviction using the BPP Act.

“If we really mean business about sanitising our contract and procurement award processes, we have to do something about the BPP Act and review it in such a way that it can address some of these concerns.

“There are so many areas where we need to sit down and examine some of the things we are doing in the interest of the country. There is a need for us to work together. The essence of prevention is that we don’t have to wait until a contract is awarded and money stolen,” he said.

The anti-graft czar also expressed dismay over BPP’s procedure of issuance of “Certificate of No Objection” to applicants on some items for procurement.

While stating that the issue of contract and procurement award processes should be taken more seriously to ensure good results in the fight against corruption, Olukoyede noted that the greatest number of corruption in public sector space in the country revolved around contract and procurement.

“Also, the issue of ‘Certificate of No Objection’ has become a thing of concern to us. We crave your indulgence to again look inwards at your processes and procedures and how the ‘Certificate of No Objection’ is being given out to applicants.

“Having spent some time within the regulatory compliance environment and enforcement, I discovered that the greatest form of corruption is the one related to contract and procurement activities.

“And I have also come to discover that fundamentally, there is nothing wrong with Nigerians. There is no country where you won’t find people who try to vitiate and circumvent the process.

“Why our corruption is more pronounced is not because of the people but the system we operate. Our institutions are not strengthened to work. So, people take advantage of our weak institutions to perpetrate these things.

“If you take an average Nigerian to an environment where people observe compliance, you will be shocked by the spirit of excellence that would drive what he would do,” he said.

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