The government of Kwara State, under the watch of Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has again been fingered in the diversion of the sum of One Hundred and Thirty Seven Million, Seven Hundred and Sixteen thousand, Seven Hundred and Forty Naira, Twenty five Kobo (N137,716,740.25), Fresh Insight can authoritatively report.
According to Fresh Insight investigation, the diverted funds was used to renovate office and construct sensitive security buildings for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) zonal office, in Ilorin, Kwara state capital.
According to the letter of award of the contract, the AbdulRazaq government apart from donating the Guest House also funded the total rehabilitation by the zonal office of the anti graft agency, which serves about four (4) states; Kwara, Osun, Ekiti and Ondo.
Checks by Fresh Insight revealed that the EFCC’s current office in Ilorin is located on No. 1, Catchment close, off Forest road, GRA.
However, Gov. AbdulRazaq has perfected plans to move them into a new office, as he secretly converted one of the state owned Guest Houses (Splendid Guest House) which is to be the new EFCC zonal office, using extra budgetary funds.
A letter of contract award for the conversion of the state owned hotel, dated 13th July, 2021, and signed by Rufai AbdulRaheem on behalf of the Secretary to the State Government, which was addressed to the MD/CEO, Timtom Engineering and Construction Company Ltd, No. 11, Commissioner Lodge Way, GRA, Ilorin, Kwara state reads;
“NOTIFICATION OF AWARD OF CONTRACT FOR THE RENOVATION OF OFFICES AND CONSTRUCTION OF SENSITIVE SECURITY BUILDINGS FOR EFCC, ILORIN ZONAL OFFICE.
“Sequel to the satisfactory performance of your company in the selective Tendering by the MTB held on 25th June, 2021 in Governor’s Office Conference Room, Ilorin, upon consideration of the bid submitted, I am directed to convey His Excellency, Mall. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, the Executive Governor of Kwara State’s approval of your company for the award of the Contract as recommended by the MTB.
“2. The award is premised on the underlisted:
i. Contract sum – N137,716,740.25
ii. Letter of acceptance: to be submitted within 24 hours of receipt of this letter.
iii. Completion Period: 8 weeks from the date of mobilization
iv. Payment is premised upon the presentation of APG/Insurance Bond
v. Payment of non-refundable Admin. Charge of N175,000.00
vi. Provision of draft contract agreement and payment of 1.5% of contract sum (N2,065,751.01) as vetting fee to the Government Treasury Account (Ministry of Justice)
vii. You are to be mobilized with 30% of the contract sum (N41,315,022.08) upon fulfillment of the aforesaid conditions.
The sum of N137.716million used by Kwara state government to construct new office for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is not included in the 2021 financial year budget of the Kwara state government, which may be tantamount to financial misappropriation.
A careful examination of the 2021 Kwara state approved budget revealed that there were only provisions for rehabilitation/repairs of police station/post and juvenile centers and no such thing as ‘renovation of offices and construction of sensitive security buildings’ for EFCC or any other security outfit.
The EFCC Establishment Act (2004) mandates the EFCC to combat financial and economic crimes. The Commission is empowered to prevent, investigate, prosecute and penalise economic and financial crimes and is charged with the responsibility of enforcing the provisions of other laws and regulations relating to economic and financial crimes.
It is however unclear, if the anti-graft agency would move in to the new office, considering the illegality and financial impropriety that characterized its construction contract, which negates the extant enabling laws of the agency.
Thus, this places the anti-graft agency in a moral burden to investigate such a flagrant violation of the relevant appropriation laws of the land, as the recipient of such unconstitutional largesse.
CONTRACT VIOLATES KWARA STATE PROCUREMENT LAW
Besides the questionability of the source of funds used to execute the EFCC Ilorin zonal office, Fresh Insight’s investigations also revealed that the contract violates the Kwara state Public Procurement Law.
According to Section 34 (1) of Kwara state Procurement Agency Law, a procuring entity is expected to set-out precise criteria for consideration of bids and apply only the qualifications set out in the pre-qualification documents via an advertisement, which was not even done in the case of the EFCC office contract.
Checks by Fresh Insight revealed that the bid for the contract was neither advertised nor did competitive bidding ever took place, a flagrant violation of the State procurement law.
TO BE CONTINUED