…Calls on EFCC, ICPC to probe lawmakers over illegal contracts
By Tordue Salem, Abuja
Embattled Chairman of the Projects Development Institute(PRODA), Comrade Daniel Onjeh, has dismissed a resolution by the House of Representatives, urging for the suspension of Acting Director-General of PRODA, Fabian Okonkwo, as of no legal effect.
Besides, the Chairman, also told the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and other anti-graft agencies to investigate and prosecute members of the House who he claimed, took illegal constituency contracts from the agency.
“I want the general public to note that the purported public investigation of the PRODA 2020 Procurement Exercise conducted by the House of Representative’sCommittee on Public Procurement, is a mere academic exercise. The resolutions or orders that emanate from the investigation, are at best, only advisory and not binding on the Executive.
“From the inception of the ostensible probe, I’d told Nigerians that the House of Reps’ Committee on Public Procurement was skewed towards a predetermined end. Indeed, they’ve proven me right! This is evident in the unusual alacrity with which the Committee wrap-up its so-called investigation and release its recommendations; all under five weeks! Isn’t that incredible, considering that Nigerians are yet to know the outcome of the Rep’s clichéd Power Probe and more recently, the NDDC Probe, (aka “Off the mic! Off the mic!” probe); and several other investigations previously conducted by the House of Reps, whose reports have been swept under the carpet?”, he stated.
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According to him, “However, before I go further, I wish to clear the wrong impression being deliberately peddled by the House of Reps, by referring to me as the former Chairman of the Projects Development Institute (PRODA), Enugu. I wish to state emphatically that I am still the Board Chairman of PRODA, because His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari who solely has the powers to appoint and dismiss me in that capacity, has not declared me removed from office. I’ve never received any complaints against me from any quarters, and I am currently not under any form of investigation, to the best of my knowledge”.
He added that “The NASS has no part in the process. What they have done is purely NOT within the purview of their operations. They have desecrated the law they once enacted. The National Assembly clearly lacks the powers to give direction on Procurement and Establishment matters in Federal”.
According to Onjeh, “ directive for me to “step-aside” was not connected to any allegation against my person, as the House of Reps is trying to suggest, rather, it is mere administrative procedure authorities take sometimes on a complaint to allow for unfettered investigation against an accused. I spearheaded the PRODA Board’s recommendation for the suspension of the DG/CEO of PRODA, Engr. Dr Charles Agulanna and Mr President duly approved the Board’s recommendation”.
He accused the National Assembly of loading the agency’s budgets with shady intervention projects in collusion with some corrupt staff of the organization to cut corners.
“We have discovered that most PRODA contractors are mere fronts for NASS members, used as conduit pipes for siphoning monies meant for zonal and constituency projects. They colluded with the Agency’s suspended DG on several occasions and received full payments for contracts without proof to justify government spending of such huge sums. Sadly, they have been doing this for several years! Unfortunately for them, they hit the rock this time around, with the current Governing Board in place.
That is simply why they are trying to blackmail PRODA’s current Management and its Governing Board into paying for phoney contracts unlawfully, illegally, and invalidly awarded by an unauthorized staff, who is a stooge of the Agency’s suspended DG; a staff who was never in fact, and in the eyes of the law, appointed Acting DG/CEO by the Commander-in-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari.
The contracts awarded by this impostor, Mr Nathan Abia-Bassey, were awarded in breach of the Public Procurement Act 2007, which stipulates that only the DG shall sign and award contracts.
Abia-Bassey just sat down and singlehandedly and unlawfully awarded contracts to NASS contractors, without a meeting/approval of the PRODA Management Tender’s Board. That is what the so-called Honourable Members of the House of Reps are fighting tooth and nail to defend”, Onjeh
Recall that the House of Representatives has on Wednesday, passed a resolution calling for the sack of the Acting Dg of PRODA, Dr Okonkwo and the disbandment of the agency’s board.
Vanguard News Nigeria
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