By Seun Adeuyi
The Senate has alleged that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources spent N14.5 million for the supply of Schneider Biros, N46 million for the Ministry’s letterhead, and N56 million for the supply of toner.
Sen. Matthew Urhoghide of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), who represents Edo South led Senate Committee on Public Accounts raised the alarm during the Ministry’s Budget defense.
The query raised by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation in the 2015 report was relied on by the Committee. The query was brought before it for probe and subsequent presentation to the Senate at Plenary.
Meanwhile, the Committee members expressed shock by the huge sum of money spent on biros, letter headed papers and tonners in the said Ministry.
“The contract for the supply of Schneider biros worth N14.5 million was split into smaller packages of less than N5 million each was awarded to four different company in order to circumvent the permanent secretary’s approval threshold of N5 million.
“Similarly, the contract for the printing of the Ministry’s letter headed papers worth N46 million was also split and awarded to 11 different contractors.
“Also, the contract for the supply of tonnes worth N56 million was split and awarded to 7 different contractors.
“The Permanent Secretary has been requested to explain this contravention of the public procurement Act, 2007,” the query by the Office of Auditor General of the Federation, read.
The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Urhoghide, in his remarks thereafter asked the representative of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Godwin Akubo to respond to the query by the Auditor General of the Federation.
Responding, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, represented by the Permanent Secretary, said:
“The action of the Ministry was a quick response to the need of the various department in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. These awards followed normal rules and procedures.
“The contract was not split. They were awarded to the various contractors at different times when items were needed.
“The sum of N46.6 million used for printing of letter headed papers followed due process and a large sum of money is explained by the volume of the letter headed papers produced for most of Department as per attached different letter headed papers.”