By Aluta News
July 24, 2023
A non-governmental organisation (NGO) has sued the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) over allegations bordering on failure to properly monitor and supervise contracts awarded by some Ministries Department and Agencies (MDAs) between 2020 to 2023.
The NGO, Registered Trustees of Network for the Actualisation of Social Growth and Viable Development, in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1002/2023, sued the BPP as sole respondent in the case.
In the suit filed July 21 by its lawyer, Timilehin Odunwo, the agency was accused of alleged indiscriminate issuance of certificate of no objection to contractors in several federal MDAs within the period under review.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that certificate of no objection is a document which authenticates that due process was followed in the course of procurement, especially at a national or subnational scale.
The BPP is the authority responsible for the monitoring and oversight of public procurement, harmonising the existing government policies and practices by regulating, setting standards and developing the legal framework and professional capacity for public procurement across the country.
The group said it sued the BPP over its alleged failure to answer vital public interest questions bordering on its oversight and procurement functions.
It, therefore, sought sought a declaration that the refusal of the respondent to disclose to the applicant the information requested in a letter, dated March 27, and another letter dated June the 8 received on the same day by the bureau is a breach of the provisions of Section 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Sections 2(1)(2)(3)(6), 3, 4 and 5 of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
“An order of this Honourable Court compelling the respondent to disclose to the applicant the entire information requested for by the applicant in the letter dated the 27th day of March, 2023 and further requested for in the letter dated the 8th day of June, 2023.
“An order of this Honourable Court directing the respondent to pay the sum of N20,000,000.00 (Twenty Million Naira) only being special and general damages on the part of the respondent for non-compliance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.”
In the affidavit attached to the application and deposed to by Mr Perfect Igbe, the group said that letters were written by the NGO to the BPP with regards to the alleged “foul contracts” across the nation but it allegedly failed to give appropriate response thereby making the group to believe the federal government agency was apparently hiding somethings from Nigerians.
It averred that the agency had issued certificates of no objection to various contractors between the period of January, 2020 to March, 2023 whose procurement methods and proceedings ran foul of the public procurement Act 2007,.aimed at ensuring transparency, competitiveness and value for money in the system.
It therefore sought for judicial review (review an administrative action by a public body) of the actions of the BPP and an order of mandamus for the court to direct the respondent to disclose to the applicant the entire information sought in the custody of the respondent “as the applicant finds it difficult to understand what the bureau may be hiding.”