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Senate investigates NIMC’s suspicious N299 million contract

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Senate Committee on Public Accounts on Tuesday commenced investigation into the National Identity Management Commission’s award of N229 million contract.

The panel’s investigation was prompted by the earlier audit query stating that the NIMC didn’t comply with the Public Procurement Act on award of N229 million contract.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mathew Urhoghide while pointing out the Auditor-General’s query on the 2017 report vowes to unravel the circumstances behind the suspicious contract.

The query reads,” Audit observed that capital payment vouchers reference number: NIMC/LS/IGL/1/11/105, dated 25th October, 2017 for ₦229.7 million showed that NIMC procured 22 units of HP blade servers for Morpho BSS upgrade.

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“The items were supplied. There was no evidence of Ministerial Tender’s Board approval, thus, negating the mandatory ‘Open Competitive bidding. Public advertisement in at least two national dailies, as required by Financial Regulation 2907 (1) and section 251(ii) of the Public Procurement Act was absent.

“There was an initial payment of ₦103.4 million vide payment voucher number NIMC/01/016 CA/18 dated 19/01/18, representing 45% of the contract sum as against the mobilization fee of 15%. The other subsequent payments were not also backed by an interim performance certificate as required by Section 35(2) of the public procurement Act 2007.

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“This is an indication of weakness in the internal control system at National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

“This could lead to poor value for money and possibility of misapplication and misappropriation of funds. Management’s response No response was received from management at the time of our report. Recommendation The Director General is required to refund the sum of ₦229 million.”

Meanwhile, the Director General of NIMC, Aliyu Abubakar Aziz who also appeared with some of his senior staff, claimed that the contract falls within the threshold of the Commission’s Tenders Board because it is classified under ‘works’.

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He said that all the servers had been supplied before the initial payment of 45 percent which represent part payment and not mobilization due to paucity of funds.

Abubakar further informed the committee that the amount was meant to procure 22 blade servers to accommodate 20 million enrollment Records .

He also said that the contract was a continuation of procurement of Enterprise Servers and Storage Solution and Equipment which was awarded in 2012.

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