The Energy Commission of Nigeria, one of the key agencies under the Ministry of Power, has been embroiled in a contract inflation saga, involving transformers and streetlights.
The commission is being asked to account for N17 million which it earmarked as the cost of transformers and streetlights, according to a 2018 government’s audit report.
The report stated that the Energy commission inflated some of its capital projects such as, “supply and installation of transformers, Solar Street Lights, Solar Boreholes, and purchase of office stamps to the tune of N17,603,083.74.”
Also four of the capital projects the commission claimed to have embarked on were found to be either incomplete or poorly executed.
These include; the contract for the establishment of 152 solar streetlights in Dawakin Kudu/Warawa, Kano 1, Kano State at a contract sum of N100,190,891.20.
Two, the contract for the establishment of solar powered streetlights at Zaria Prison, Kaduna State, for the sum of N4,614,054.20.
The audit report reads, “Issue 1 – Inflation of contracts; Financial Regulations 3102 state that “(a) Any public officer who is alleged to be involved in the inflation of contract shall be allowed 5 days within which to respond to the audit query addressed to him.
“Where the query involves an Accounting Officer, he shall be reported to Mr. President. In the case of any other officer, he shall be surcharged appropriately and removed from the duty schedule, dismissed, and prosecuted. (b) Where the inflation of the contract involves the Tenders Board, all the members that approved the inflated contract shall be severally and collectively sanctioned.”
“Audit observed that, contracts on sampled capital projects such as, supply and installation of transformers, Solar Street Lights, Solar Boreholes, and purchase of office stamps were inflated to the tune of N17,603,083.74. The summary is as follows:
“One; inflation on Solar Streetlight, N14,340,092.85; two; Inflation on Solar Borehole, N2,334,828.14; three, inflation on transformer, N638,962.75 and Purchase of Office Stamp, N289,200.”
“Recommendations – The Director-General is required to recover the inflated contract amount of N17,603,083.74 and remit same to the CRF. Evidence of remittance should be forwarded to the Public Account Committee of the National Assembly, failing which sanction should apply.
“Issue Two; Poor execution of Capital Projects – N111,469,645.40; The provision of Financial Regulation 3105 states that, A public officer, on receipt of a query from the Auditor-General for a poor quality work carried out by a contractor, has 42 days to get the contractor to rectify the abnormalities or get refund for the amount over-paid as a result of the poor job. If the query remains unanswered after the time limit, the officer(s) that certified the job for payment shall be demoted in rank while the contractor blacklisted and reported to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for prosecution.
“Audit observed that four contracts amounting to N111,469,645.40 that were awarded by the Commission in the year 2017 were poorly executed by the contractors.”
The report added that the ECN Director General should justify the award of contracts totalling N111,469,645.40 to incompetent contractors, failing which sanctions should apply.”