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PDP knocks Edo govt over N1.4bn alleged procurement violation

The Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party has accused the state government of allegedly approving the payment of 75 per cent mobilisation fee for the provision of medical equipment for the Central Hospital, Benin, in contravention of the Edo State Public Procurement Agency Law, 2012.
The Publicity Secretary, Edo PDP, Mr. Chris Nehikhare, told journalists on Wednesday that Governor Adams Oshiomhole had, on January 14, 2016, allegedly approved the payment of N1.4bn to a private construction company “for the supply, installation, training and maintenance” of the equipment for the accident and emergency ward “as well as the ward complex of the Central Hospital, Benin.”
Also speaking, the state Legal Adviser of the PDP, Prof. Edoba Omoregie, accused the state government of unlawful virement of funds meant for the hospital to the newly established Edo University, Iyamho, without an approval by the House of Assembly.
“You can only do this if there is a clear request for this to be done and an approval by the state House of Assembly,” he added.
The Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Kassim Afegbua, could not be reached for comments.
But Afegbua had, in an earlier statement, debunked the allegations, which he said were based on “beer parlour gossip” and “crass ignorance” of budget interpretation.
He commissioner had said, “As a government that has exhibited a high sense of prudence in the management of state resources, whatever we embark on, by way of projects, are usually captured in our budget proposal and the Edo University, Iyamo, and the new five-star Central Hospital, Benin, are no exception.
“It should be noted that the State Executive Council only approves contracts when they have met all the requirements of bidding – in line with the Procurement Act. We do not behave like the PDP, whose chieftains defrauded the state and the nation with reckless abandon without respect for due process.”
However, Nehikhare explained that the alleged mobilisation fee was in gross violation of Section 47 of the state public procurement agency law, which according to him, provides that only 25 per cent advance payment be made to a supplier or contractor.
He accused the state government of making anticipatory expenditure when the 2016 budget had not been passed.
He also explained that although Section 122 of the 1999 Constitution permitted the governor to authorise expenditure, six months into an appropriation year and pending the passage of the appropriation law for the year, it limited such expenditure to the tune of the appropriation made for the preceding year.

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