Grass-cutting scandal: I have no powers to award contracts – SGF

by Dolapo Adelana

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, says he does not have the power to award contracts.

Lawal said this in statement on Friday while reacting to accusations  by the Senate ad hoc committee investigating the humanitarian crisis in the north-east that he awarded contracts to 20 “ghost companies” through the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE).

In a statement by Bolaji Adebiyi, director (Press) in the office of the SGF, Lawal said all the contracts awarded by the Initiative went through “due process.”

According to Adebiyi the statement of the committee’ chairman, Shehu Sani proved that PINE is the body to answer all questions regarding the contract awarded, and not the SGF.

“The implication is that PINE is really the body to answer all inquiries regarding the contract awards, not the SGF,” the statement read.

“​To the real and more important issue, the general public should not be made to believe that the secretary to the government of the federation has the authority or power to award contracts. This, indeed, is not the case.

“As with all awards of contract in government, the PINE projects under investigation, went through what is referred to as due process in public expenditure.

“​The contracts were awarded only after the requisite clearances were obtained from the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).  It is expected that these clearances are obtained only when all conditions precedent to the awards of contracts are met.

“Apart from the BPP huddle, the tenders board of the procuring agencies, in this instance, the office of the secretary to the government of the federation, has to approve of the contracts before they are awarded.  At no time were these processes compromised in the award of contracts by PINE.”

The statement added, “It must be emphasised also, that the SGF is not even a member of the tenders board.

“The SGF despite his position in government cannot award contracts.  He is not even a member of the tenders board.  All contracts must, indeed, pass the acid test of obtaining clearance from the Bureau of Public Procurement and the scrutiny of the Tenders Board.

“​PINE contracts were awarded following strict compliance with public expenditure and procurement processes.  It will interest everyone to know too, that all PINE projects were properly and satisfactorily executed.”

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