Kachikwu, Baru And Legal Implication of Procurement System
Nigeria News Examine the legal implication of the procurement system that creates row between Ibe Kachikwu and Maikanti Baru
There has been a legal tone in the row between the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Dr Ibe Kachikwu and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC since a petition was leaked.
Senior Advocates, like the former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Olisa Agbakoba and Human Rights Activist, Mr Femi Falana had spoken over this.
The two senior lawyers had pointed out the grey areas and attributed the rumpus to the position of President Muhammadu Buhari as a Minister of Petroleum.
Another opinion moulder and Lagos lawyer, Mr Jiti Ogunye analyzed the rightfulness of the NNPC in the contract award saga and pointed out the cause of the discrepancy between the minister and the GMD of NNPC.
To Him, there wouldn’t have been any grudge if Buhari was not the Minister of Petroleum.
However a Procurement Consultant, Mr Biobele Arimie posited that Nigeria what had happened between Kachikwu and Baru was not just an allegation of insubordination by the NNPC GMD but a breakaway from the procedural law in the procurement system.
To him, the situation is pregnant with unanswered critical questions, describing it as a gross violation of procedural law in the procurement system.
Arimie noted that in the procurement law, only the Federal Executive Council has the power to approve and that President Buhari, even though, is the minister of petroleum cannot unilateral approve such contract without recourse to the FEC.
As he put it, Mr President cannot appropriate and reprobate, setting up Federal Executive Council and still unilaterally sit down to do what FEC is expected to do by law alone, without the public knowledge.
The only way out of this is to ensure that the law is being complied with and ensure that due process is carried out to unravel who is behind what.
Arimie explained in clear term that the procedural law of the procurement system demands compliance be carried out on the procedure.
“The NNPC has a threshold approved by the Bureau for Public Procurement in compliance with the public procurement act of 2007.
He stated that it is the responsibility of the public procurement to approve a threshold which is to be taken to the National Council of Public Procurement which is still lacking in Nigeria.
According to him, the budget of Nigeria goes into the procurement system till date and no government have had the political will to constitute the procurement council which is the requirement of law.
He stated further that the council supposed to create the bureau and employ people into the bureau, but the situation is that a bureau had been created without a parent.
In his analysis, the procurement consultant noted that the threshold has a group headquarters tender’s board, in which the tenders’ board is an approving authority based on the public procurement act to award contracts.
“Based on the tenders board, there are limits that one cannot go beyond and there two primary tenders board under the public procurement act; the one that is being headed by the Group Managing Director, Dr Baru and another one, the tenders’ board called the Ministerial Tenders Board.
He said in the NNPC act in section (1) or (2) it is confirmed that the board of the NNPC is a part of the group NNPC Corporation.
“These boards have a role to play in the procurement process and they cannot approve because the public procurement law does not recognize them as an approving authority but can review and advice.
He stated that the Public Procurement Act also provides for a Ministerial Tenders Board in which if the amount goes beyond 10 million, the Headquarters Tenders Board cannot approve.
To him, now that Kachukwu had raised above one billion Naira; 980 million US Dollars difference, he is culpable of insubordination and perhaps insubordination.
“This is because everything above 20 million US Dollars must get a certificate of no objection from the bureau and must be cleared by FEC which is headed by Mr President,’ he said.