The Auditor-General, Anthony Ayine, has called for the probe of the management of the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) over a irregularities observed in a N7.5billion contract for Shore Erosion Control Work at Akipelai, Ayakoro and Otuoke towns in Bayelsa State.
The anomaly was discovered by the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation after an audit had been conducted into the account of the port authority.
Breakdown of the findings: According to findings by the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation, the contract which was awarded through a letter with reference number, HQ/GME/CP/CON/R.16/067 dated 22nd March, 2012; with a 14-month completion period, disclosed that as of November 11, 2015, he said four payment certificates and an advance payment, totalling N4.24 billion, had been made to the contractor. The fund represents about 56.61 per cent of the contract amount.
It was learnt that a review of documents and the Bill of Quantities under Bill No. 1 (General) attached to the payments revealed that mobilisation fee of N1.12 billion paid to the contractor was supported by a conditional bank guarantee from Zenith Bank Plc with a validity period of 365 days.
It added that the guarantee, which expired on March 2, 2013, was contrary to the provisions of Section 35(1a) of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 and Financial Regulations 2933 ’i’ (2009) which provided for submission of an unconditional bank guarantee or insurance bond.
Irregularities in fund disbursement: Ayine stated that the contractor had failed to renew it with the balance of unrecovered advance payment standing at N539.45 million four-years after the expiration of the bank guarantee. Part of the findings included there was no evidence that vehicles were purchased, but it was stated that the sum of N19.5 million was paid for the purchase of three Toyota Hilux vehicles.
Also, he added that the sum of N13.5 million was provided as an annual running cost for the project vehicles, out of which N6.75 million was certified and paid to the contractor, but like the vehicles reportedly purchased, there was no evidence to show what the amount was used for.
He said, “The sum of N11.25m certified for compensation of properties to be affected by the project and paid in certificate No.3 had no records on how the money was utilised nor the beneficiaries involved.
“The sum of N12.5m provided for community relations was certified and paid vide certificate No. 3 with no supporting documents to validate the payment.
“The sum of N128m provided for insurance of the work and insurance against damages to persons and properties was certified and paid through certificate No. 3 with no evidence that any insurance policy was undertaken.”
2 / 2
Overpayment of contractors: Part of the report highlighted how the contractors were overpaid. It was learnt that the value of work was pegged at N3.9 billion, but about N4.24 billion was paid to the contractor.
Despite the contractors earning N344.26 million more than the amount expected, the project was abandoned. “During the inspection of the project, it was revealed that the contractor had since abandoned the project site; and the duration of the project had since lapsed without approval for its extension,” he told Punch.