NPA breached due process, says BPP
… As ICPC cancels, orders re-award of buoys contract
Following an allegation by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), which accused the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) of alleged breach of the principles of due process in the award of a contract, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has ordered the recall of an Advance Payment Guarantee (APG) of $867,242.25 (about N138, 758,760.00) the NPA granted the contact beneficiary, Abhal Ventures Limited.
The ICPC in a letter dated June 17, 2013, explained that the decision to recall the APG followed its investigation of the award of the contract for the construction and delivery of 100 units of Medium Density ‘R’ Class Polyethylene (MDPE) channel marking buoys by the NPA to Abhal Ventures Limited.
The ICPC directed that the APG of $867,242.25, representing 15 per cent of the contract sum is to be refunded in line with the BPP’s recommendations, which ordered that that the contract awarded to Abhal Ventures Limited be terminated and re-awarded to Marina Energy Limited.
The ICPC stated: “During the course of investigation, there was no evidence of the recall of the APG from the issuing Bank. You are therefore required to recall the APG and forward the evidence of this to the Commission.”
The origin of the ICPC’s orders to the NPA is traceable to a petition dated November 20, 2012, which was sent to President Goodluck Jonathan by Messrs Marina Energy Limited, wherein the petitioner alleged “NPA’s reckless disregard for due process and prescribed procedures as outlined in the Public Procurement Act, 2007 and its complicity in ripping off the Federal Government of Nigeria to the tune $2, 207,398.20.”
It was noted that at the Financial Bids opening, Marina Energy submitted the “lowest responsive bid” of $3,574,216.80, while the eventual winner submitted a bid of $5,781,615.00.
The BPP, it was gathered, in its investigation report, which was later forwarded to the ICPC, had stated that the “rejection of Messrs Marina Energy Limited bid in the tender sum of $3, 574, 216.00 by the NPA, solely on the basis of deviation from the NPA In-House Estimate in the sum of $5,956,282.00, is not correct.”
It was noted: “The BPP has consistently advised Ministries, Departments and Agencies against the use of deviation from in-House Estimate as the basis to disqualify bid, rather, unit rate comparison, which is more transparent, though painstaking analysis has always been advocated by BPP to determine the reasonableness or unreasonableness of a financial bid.”