By Adebayo Aare, Agidigbo 88.7 FM
In this four-week investigation supported by Civic Media Lab, Adebayo Aare of Agidigbo 88.7 FM reveals that the Engr. Seyi Makinde-led administration of Oyo State awarded a contract of N91,160,000 to Prunegde Development Technologies Ltd in violation of sections of the public procurement law. This contract has not been delivered over one year later.
On the 4th of May, 2021, the Oyo State Government under the present administration of Governor Seyi Makinde awarded a contract for “the procurement of smart identity cards for civil servants in the State.” Awarded to Prunegde Development Technologies Ltd at N91,160,000, according to information provided by the Oyo State Bureau of Public Procurement.
This investigation reveals that the contract which was awarded in violation of two provisions of the Oyo State Public Procurement Law, 2010 might have been fleeced as it has become a mirage.
If properly executed, this project would have made it easier for the Oyo State Government to have the data of its civil servants as well as allow for the digitalization of the attendance system, get rid of ghost workers, and block all loopholes through which government funds are being siphoned using the civil service.
Some of the Civil Servants who are the supposed beneficiary who spoke to Agidigbo 88.7 Fm were in shock about the project with the majority having no knowledge about the project.
Alayade Oluwaseun, a teacher said: “ID card? I don’t know what you mean about a change of ID card. Nobody has changed their ID card since this administration started. I have not changed mine because we are under the Government and the Government has not changed our ID card.”
Another, staff of the State Broadcasting Corporation who spoke on anonymity for fear of victimization said: “If there is any change of ID card, the Ministry of Information would have instructed us to go for data capturing, but there has been no such instruction, which means that there is nothing like that.”
Another secondary school teacher, one of the newly recruited staff of the State Teaching Service Commission, who simply identified himself as Yusuff noted that the ID card he uses is not smart at all. In his words: “We use a plastic ID card. We were not given smart ID cards. We were just given this one less than four months ago.”
Only two people out of the dozens talked to say that they were asked to go for data capturing last year but have not heard anything since then about the continuation of the capturing and issuance of the smart ID card.
Agidigbo 88.7 FM investigation revealed that the Engr. Seyi Makinde administration violated part 4 (fundamental principles for procurement), section 22, sub 1b, and section 22, sub 3d of the Oyo State Public Procurement Law, 2010 in awarding the contract for the procurement of smart identity cards for civil servants in the State awarded to Prunegde Development Technologies Ltd for N91,160,000.
Part 4, section 22, sub 1b states that “subject to any exemption allowed by this law: all public procurement shall be conducted based only on procurement plans supported by prior budgetary appropriation, and no procurement proceedings shall be formalized until the procuring entity shall ensure that funds are available to meet the obligations and subject to the threshold in the regulations made by the Bureau has obtained a certificate of no objection to contract award from the Bureau.”
The procuring entity in this N91,160,000 contract is the office of the Executive Governor of Oyo State, after several scrutinies of the Oyo State 2021 budget, the contract was not found, meaning it was not budgeted for.
While Part 4, section 22, sub 3d states that contracts can only be awarded to a contractor who “has fulfilled all its obligations to pay taxes, pensions, and social security contributions.”
A check on the Corporate Affairs Commission’s database shows that Prunegde Development Technologies Ltd is inactive. This status is only attributed to companies that fail to file their tax returns to the CAC. No State record could be found in the Bureau to show that the contractor complied with that section.
This implies that the Oyo State Government breached Part 4, section 22, sub 3d of the State public procurement law, raising questions on probity in the Governor Seyi Makinde-led government’s adherence to the public procurement process.
Government And Contractor Dodge Questions
Agidigbo 88.7 FM reached out to Prunedge Development Technologies Ltd, one Solunbi (other name wasn’t given) who disclosed that she is the front desk officer and could not provide any information but promised to get back to the reporter as soon as possible.
Her words: “You are speaking with the front desk, so, I’m afraid I don’t have the details. It’s the Project Manager that should be able to provide the information. I’ll have to find out the Project Manager that is in charge so that I can share your number with him. So, he should return your call.”
After a long wait, this reporter called again, several times, but the calls were ignored.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Oyo State, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, first questioned the interest of the reporter in the project which according to him, only concerned civil servants.
“I don’t know what you mean by that because the ID card is for civil servants and staff of government, and it’s something that is continuous and as they are recruiting, they keep updating.
“So, I don’t know what is of public concern in that one. I don’t even know … who confirmed that the project has been awarded?” he questioned Agidigbo 88.7 FM.
When questioned further, Mr. Adisa referred this reporter to the State’s Bureau of Public Procurement.
“I cannot speak on that project because I don’t have details of it. The people that can speak on it are the procurement people. You can come to the secretariat or call the number on the website,” he said.
Agidigbo 88.7 FM re-visited the Oyo State Bureau of Public Procurement, but was turned away and directed to the Ministry of Information for answers.
At the Ministry of Information, the Commissioner and the Ministry’s Information Officer were not on sit.
The State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr. Wasiu Olatunbosun when reached on WhatsApp said, “I have been away for some time, I just came back from hajj. I am not in a position to talk on this.”
This raises questions about the transparency and accountability compliance of a government that prides itself on accountability, so much that it created its anti-corruption agency.
This report was published with support from Civic Media Lab.