How The Buhari-led FEC Illegally Awarded Contracts In 2016

By Ikenga Chronicles December 27, 2016

A report has revealed how President Muhammadu Buhari and his cabinet members awarded several fraudulent contracts without inaugurating the National Council on Public Procurement(NCPP)as required by law.

The inability of the government to set up the council has meant the Federal Executive Council(FEC) approved contracts to be executed by its members without following due process.

The FEC is made up the president, the vice president, all the ministers and some presidential advisers–meaning the president and his political appointees who are all less likely to question his decisions.

Recall that the Public Procurement Act 2007 was signed into law by late President Umaru Yar’Adua on June 4, 2007.

The Act provides for the establishment of the National Council on Public Procurement(NCPP)and the Bureau of Public Procurement(BPP) as the regulatory authorities responsible for the monitoring and oversight of public procurement as well as harmonizing existing government policies and practices.

The Act was put in place to put more transparency in and ensure public participation in government procurement.

Membership of the council according to the Act should comprise 12 members to be appointed by the president.

Reacting, a legal practitioner Jiti Ogunye said the  inability of the Buhari administration to inaugurate the council has  “grave consequences” because the Act establishing the council was not meant “to be observed in breach.”

“The executive is not at liberty to choose which law it could implement. It is not a discretionary matter” he said.

Ogunye said both the federal and state governments are charged under Section 5 of the Nigerian constitution 1999, as amended to “govern the country and execute all the laws passed by the National Assembly.”

He said the best way to resolve the controversy is through “public interest litigation seeking an order of mandamus” asking the Nigerian government to “do what the law says they should do”.

Ogunye said the NCPP is the citizens’ only chance to participate in the procurement process in the country.

“The business of the Federal Executive Council is to deal with policy issues. It is not a contract awarding body” he said.

We need a court declaration to say the FEC “as a substitute to the NCPP is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional. On the basis of arguments, we can say what they are doing is illegal, but there is no legal declaration to that effect.”

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