The Bureau of Public Procurement on Tuesday said it does not have records of the approval it gave to a foreign company, HSL International Limited, for the $195 million Deep Blue Contract, which was awarded in 2017.
The Director General of the agency, Mahman Adamu, said this when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Navy.
The committee probing the contract meant to provide coastal security surveillance for Nigerian waters.
Adamu, who spoke through a Director in the Agency, Engr. Isiaiah Yesufu, said though they issued the Certificate of No Objection to the company, they did not keep any records as every document relating to the matter was sent to the Ministry of Transport.
On the issue that the company was not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, he said the Section 16 of the Procurement Act permits international companies to participate in the country’s procurement process so long as they have the capacity as specified by the provision.
The Chairman of the Committee, Yusuf Gagdi, demanded procurement documents to show the extent the company met up with the expectations according to law, but Adamu said the agency does not have the records.
This response piqued the lawmakers, who wondered how an agency like the BPP would not have records of such a project.
They said it showed lack of efficiency and was also an indication that something was wrong.
One of the members of the Committee, Hon. Sam Onuigbu, said: “This is a serious business.
“When you look at Honourable Members here from diverse backgrounds and you come to tell us that an office, the basic function of an office is a place where documents are kept for easy retrieval, you are saying now because you handled it and you have given it out, so how about if someone else comes to ask, so you will be going to each Ministry.
“Have you listened to yourself to know if you are truly talking to us or to other Nigerians?
“Because for me, you are making it look like this is not a serious business.
“You cannot say that.
“What you said is totally unacceptable.”
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said following the need to enhance the security of the waterways, he had obtained approval from the President and the BPP for the project.
He said after the contract was secured, it was transferred to the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency for implementation.
Amaechi said security along the waters have improved following the project.
NIMASA was however absent at the meeting and the Committee Chairman said the agency would be expected to explain every payment on the project at the next sitting.
The BPP was also directed to ensure it got the relevant documents pertaining to the contract at the next sitting.