SOLACEBASE in this investigation uncovers how the National Commission for Refugees awarded a N60 million contract to an oil and gas company to supply tricycles and grinding machines to the people of Boi and Lusa communities in Bogoro LGA of Bauchi State. In addition, the company did not execute the project which was also not captured in the 2022 budget.
Established by Decree 52 of 1989 now Cap. N21, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 (NCFRMI Act), the National Commission for Refugees was established to manage the affairs of refugees, migrants, and internally displaced persons in Nigeria. The agency is one of the six agencies under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development.
Record from the Office of the Accountant General of The Federation captured on the Govspond portal, an accountability portal that profiles procurement contracts awarded by MDAs revealed that on 28, Dec 2022, just three days before the budget circle year ends 2022, the sum of ₦66,611,671.20 was paid to MAIWADA GLOBAL CONCEPTS LIMITED- an Oil and Gas Company- for the supply of motorcycles, tricycle and grinding machines to Lusa and Boi communities of Bauchi State.
The project was a Constituency project designed to provide a source of livelihood for residents of these two communities, including youth and women.
SOLACEBASE however discovered that the supply of tricycles and grinding machines was not done. The residents of Boi and Lusa communities of Bauchi also confirmed this when they spoke to our correspondent.
Similarly, tricycles or grinding machines were not sighted in the communities when our correspondent visited, with motorcycles still the only means of transportation in the two communities.
Section 58 of the Public Procurement Act of 2007 explains the modalities and procedures in the award of contracts and penalties for violation of procurement procedures in the award and execution of contracts.
Section 58, Article 18 paragraph 6 states that only 15 percent mobilization fee should be disbursed to contractors as the first payment, but this was disregarded as the contractor was paid in full.
Oil and Gas Company Awarded Supply Contract
Checks by SOLACEBASE on Ng-Checks revealed that MAIWADA GLOBAL CONCEPTS LIMITED was registered on 08 Sep 2015 with RC-1286361 as an oil and gas company, a business operation different from the contract it was awarded. Record from the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC however shows the company is still active. The directors of the company include Haruna S. Umar and Amina Musa Kaita.
A search by SOLACEBASE from the Twitter and LinkedIn accounts of one of the directors Amina Musa Kaita, shows she is a staff of the National Assembly. She is listed as the co-director, alongside Haruna Umar CEO of Maiwada Global Concepts Ltd, Kaita Integrated Services, and Interstellar Hybrid Ltd.
Project Not Found In Communities
Blessing Hakimi, a resident of Boi community, was initially unwilling to speak because of her safety, but she opened up on the project and narrated how the community still commutes for several hours to other places for grinding.
“No grinding machine was ever distributed to any of us, we belong to different union meetings, the news would have traveled far, I am just getting to know of this, “Hakimi said, adding that “We journey about 40 minutes or even more sometimes to the next community or to Tafawa Balewa to grind or we resolve to use our local method of grinding if we must take pap or prepare moi-moi and other things.”
James Nuhu is president of the Okada and Keke Rider Association in Boi. He said: “It is impossible that what you mentioned was distributed and I am not aware, even if I am not, the news will go around and motorcycles are not invisible,” Nuhu said.
Jonas Munaka, the National Youth Leader of Boi community, could not hide his surprise on hearing that the project had been executed with money paid to the contractor. He described the project as a fraudulent one.
“It is very easy to fetch out beneficiaries, none of the things mentioned reached our community, it’s a complete lie and a fraudulent project, the contractors must be searched and asked to give an account of the project,” Munaka said.
In Lusa, the story is similar. Lusa is about three kilometers from Boi, and it’s one of the communities under Bogoro LGA named as beneficiary of the project. But Zacchaeus Nathaniel, the Youth leader of Lusa community, also denied knowing about the project.
“Such programs are implemented with the knowledge and involvement of the youth leader, women leader, and the community head, none of us is aware of this particular project,” he said.
Contractor Denies Project
Dr. Haruna Maiwada, the CEO of MAIWADA GLOBAL CONCEPTS LIMITED, denied his company was awarded the project. Reacting to questions by this reporter in his DM on his X handle @harunamaiwada, replied “At no point have we received or implemented a project as such, we have never been paid for a job that was never implemented, you should contact the awarding agency to provide you details of the actual contractor that was paid and not us.”
Commission Says Project ‘Fully Executed’
Funmi Barah, the Director of Procurement of the agency, said the project was executed but could not provide any evidence to show.
On the reporter’s first visit to the agency’s headquarters in Abuja, Barah said, “I only got promoted to this position last year, while I can’t speak much about the project immediately, I will advise you to give me till tomorrow, I will request for the project file and see if the project was implemented or not,” Barah said.
On second visit, she said, “We are still looking for the file she said, so I don’t ask you to keep coming and I will be giving you the same information. I can tell you that the project has been executed. Since there is evidence of payment, that alone shows that the project has been executed.”
She said there are different stages of payment processing to be sure a particular project is fully executed before payment is made, and that there’s no way a contractor will be cleared by the agency without evidence of work done.
She however admitted that many shady deals have happened in the past before she was appointed to the office last year.
“Since I assumed office, I have set up a forensic check on every project awarded by the agency. Presently contractors now must provide the geolocation of the project which must be captured in pictorial evidence at different stages of implementing of the project until completion,” she said, adding that field officers are also attached to contractors.
She said the denial by the contractor was not new because some contractors borrow companies from their friends to apply for a contract and execute the project in the name of the company.
“We see a lot during the contract awarding process and we just overlook these things, this is just because we want to help people, this might be one of such instances of a borrowed company and the director of the company might be right for not being aware as he might not even remember such ever happened and I am not surprised as well,” she added.
This republished report was done with support from Civic Media Lab.