Reps threaten to arrest Sports Minister over alleged contract fraud
House of Representatives committee on public petitions has threatened to order the arrest of Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung for failing to appear before it after he has been invited seven times.
The invitation was in connection with a N30 billion bribery allegation levelled against Mr Dalung by a contractor in the ministry.
Others invited alongside the minister were the permanent secretary and the director of procurement in the ministry.
Furious by their refusal to honour the invitation of the committee, the chairman, Nkem Abonta, directed the clerk to prepare a bench warrant for Mr. Dalung and the two others, but his colleagues prevailed that they be allowed till May 30.
A group, Kingdom Human Rights Foundation, had in a petition alleged that their client, Solbec Ltd., was awarded a contract, via a letter dated November 27 by the then Ministry of Youth Development (Now Federal Ministry of Sports) for the construction of a youth development centre in Oyo State.
“The total contract sum is N182, 942,047.05 and the contract was duly awarded after a thorough award procurement scrutiny and selection process in line with the Procurement Act and contract agreement,”the letter said.
“Several attempts were made to get the 15 percent mobilisation fee but request was turned down and the contractor was advised to take a loan facility and Skye Bank obliged him N20m.”
“The Permanent Secretary and Director of Procurement in the ministry acting through some senior staff in the department of procurement corruptly demanded an advanced payment of the 20 percent of the total valuated sum of N30,159,527 (kickback) to enable them approve job already executed,” the petition read.
The petitioner said due to their inability to pay the kickback, the ministry connived with the Bureau for Public Procurement to issue a complaint purporting same to be from unidentified lowest responsive bidder while Solbec was the lowest responsive bidder.
The committee adjourned till May 30 for further legislative action.
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