The Kwara state government has briefly denied spending N476.3 million for the installation of Barb Wire for Fence
The ‘leak’ trended on social media on March 21, 2022. Another version of the story was again published on Monday June 13, 2022. ”Since then, the government has commissioned an internal probe to get to the roots of the matter,” according to a statement signed by Babatunde Toyin Abdulrasheed, Press Secretary, Ministry of Finance.
According to Babatunde Toyin, below are the facts of the situation for the benefit of the public;
A. There has been no project on installation of barb wire for fence since this administration came on board on May 29, 2019.
B. The said installation of barb wire for fence was done in March 2019. The work was done through direct labour in Phases I and II Offices of the Kwara Internal Revenue Services (KWIRS) for security purpose. The KW-IRS payment voucher (2019/0378) for this transaction is dated 14th March, 2019.
C. The cost of the said installation was N476,300.00, as against the N476,300,000.00 quoted in the said publication.
D. Further inquiries are ongoing to ascertain how N476,300,000.00 was quoted in place of N476,300.00 on the website of the Kwara State Procurement Agency. This will forestall such errors in the future.
In the ‘leak’, Dataphyte analysts observed gross irregularities pertaining to this contract on the Open Contracting Portal of the state.
First, the Kwara State Government failed to give the required details of the contractor that won the contract. It reported that the contractor’s name was “Not Available”. Same for the contractor’s address and phone number. Besides, the State listed the email of the contractor as [email protected]
Furthermore, the project which bore a description, “Installation of Barb Wire on the Fence” was noted to have commenced 12th February 2020, and meant to be completed by 12th May 2020, a three month time span.
The budgeted amount was N476.3 million and the awarded value was the same amount. Yet, there were no tenderers or bidders for the contract.
Strangely, while the installation purportedly cost Kwara State 476.3 million, the government failed to disclose the exact location of the fence where the barb wire was installed.
By withholding these necessary information on the State’s Open Contracting Portal, the Government may have breached the following provisions of the law as contained in the Kwara State Open Contracting Act:
Section 22 1(b), which required “Open competitive bidding, using clearly defined criteria and offering to every interested bidder equal information and opportunities to offer the works, goods and services needed”.
Section 22 1(f), which expected “Public monitoring of the procurement process and the implementation of the contracts awarded to ensure that all contracts awarded are awarded pursuant to the provisions of this law and its regulations and that all public contracts are performed strictly according to specifications”.
Furthermore, the act states that “the agency may refuse to endorse award of a contract for public procurement on the grounds that the price is manifestly excessive or unreasonably below the predetermined price or that a procurement proceeding has been conducted in a manner that violates the provisions of this law”.
Regarding accountability on pricing, the absence of tenderers and bids makes it difficult to determine if the contracts were awarded in excessive prices. Besides, the location, length and height of the fence on which the barb wire was installed cannot be ascertained.
Moreover, the Kwara state open contracting law permits that information on the processes and evaluation of the contracting authority can be released to a third party after the award decision has been notified to a third party. However, these information were not provided by the state.
The objectives of the Kwara State E-Procurement Vendor Platform are “to ensure probity, accountability and transparency in Public Procurement throughout Kwara state.
However, withholding information on the “Barb Wire for Fence” contract, among several others, negates the aims of the Kwara state public procurement agency listed on its website.