The House of Representatives on Thursday uncovered a deputy director in the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPE) said to have been born in 1996 but was employed in 1992.
Lantewa Fatsuma Lawal, who is from Bade Local Government Area of Yobe State, was promoted Deputy Director (Accounts) on Grade Level 16 on 01/01/2019, with a Bachelor of Science degree and a Post-Graduate Diploma.
The house committee on public procurement discovered the alleged anomaly when BPP officials appeared before it to defend the agency’s 2021 budget on Thursday.
House member, Nicholas Ossai, called the attention of the lawmakers to his discovery on the bureau’s nominal roll, asking the Director-General, Mamman Ahmadu, to explain the irregularity.
Ossai said, “On personnel, a female staff of the bureau named Lantewa Fatsuma Lawal, the Deputy Director, Accounts, with date of birth as 08/01/1996 received her first appointment on 15/12/1992; that is four years before her date of birth.”
A copy of the BPP’s nominal roll has Lawal’s date of birth as 08/01/1996 and her employment date as 01/01/192.
Ahmadu and other officials of the BPP, however, said there was an error in the dates, making the lawmakers to resolve to carry out an oversight visit to the bureau while demanding more documents.
The committee also expressed displeasure that it was taking long for the agency to submit reports on 32 agencies.
Kingsley Oju, deputy chairman of the committee, said the performance of the BPP is less than five percent.
“It baffles this committee that since the appointment of the DG, it is taking about four years to submit report from 32 agencies out of over 850 agencies for us to know whether they are complying with the law,” Oju said.
“We are shocked as a committee on public procurement that we don’t even have materials to work. We are doing budget defence, but this committee is vested with the responsibility to ascertain the usage of previous funds.
“I agree with you that audit is going on, but if your performance is less than five percent, I don’t think we are ready to do the job.
“I, therefore, move a motion that the committee should mandate the bureau to submit all procurement audit report of 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 before the end of this year.”
Mamman Ahmadu, BPP director-general, said in 2020, of the sum of N1.485 billion allocated to the bureau, N250.479 million was for capital expenditure; N750.060 million for overhead while N484.236 million was for personnel expenditure.
“We have published some procurement audit and submitted same to the committee,” Ahmadu said.
But Ossai, a lawmaker from Delta, tackled the BPP DG, accusing him of not doing his job.
“It means you have been in office for four years now and yet your office has not done its job,” Ossai said.
“I see this as an infraction to the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria. If that is so, the house should be able to summon the political courage and will and be able to do the needful and an affront on the constitution and the appropriation act.”
Asking a series of question, Ossai quoted Ahmadu as saying N190.3m was given to the BPP for capital expenditure.
On BPP’s Overhead, Ossai recalled that the DG, in his presentation, said the sum of N240.8m had been committed to pending liabilities but the details provided only contained details amounting to N203.6m.
The lawmaker also said while the bureau spent about N22m on welfare packages in 2019, same amount had been spent as of October 2020.
“Explanation should be provided for the increase in welfare packages and items that made up the welfare packages as well as the beneficiaries,” he said.
Ossai also asked the BPP boss to explain the N17 million spent on legal services as of October, even as he demanded details of the matters for which the services were engaged.
Another member of the committee, Dachung Bagos, also raised an issue on the proposal surveillance of ongoing Federal Government projects for which about N38m was allocated while BPP still had a balance of N38 million.
He said, “If one of your core duties is to supervise government projects, it means that from January to now, who has been supervising all the government projects and handling surveillance on them?”
Responding, Ahmadu said, “We have procured some of the procurement audits and we have submitted same to you for this year. I think the second one is in the process of production.”