Executive Secretary PTDF, Mr Muttaqah Darma
By Patrick Ugeh
Quite emotional, with eyes red, Executive Secretary of Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF, Mr Muttaqah Darma, Tuesday had to call for water before taking questions, as he strove to exonerate himself from claims of impropriety concerning the award of contracts for the construction of the Oil and Gas Museum and Research Centre, Oloibiri, Bayelsa State.
Saying if he wanted to make money, he would not agree to work in a government establishment, he said stories written about him on the Oloibiri project were being sponsored by people who were angling to replace him when his tenure expires in November.
He denied having any link with the contractors working for PTDF but said his method of operation was the collective project management mechanism which involved major stakeholders, noting that the projects were completed to that stage at supersonic speed. Among such projects are the new PTDF head office, PTI, Federal polytechnic, Ekowe; Bonny Polytechnic and the petroleum institute project in Kaduna.
He attributed the difficulty in completing some PTDF projects to the fact the Bureau of Public Procurement (or Due Process Office) was that while its focus was on costs of projects, such approach was not always the best.
He said most contractors, aware of that fact, often quoted lower costs and went on to ask for variations after winning the contract, which PTDF has ousted from its transactions
Darma added that contracts awarded by him were mostly through open tender.
Speaking on the main thrust of the story run by THISDAY Tuesday which alleged that most of the companies being used to execute PTDF contract were fronting for him, he said he did not know any of them.
Darma stated that he had often bowed to the choices of contractors approved by BPP which has turned down the Fund’s preferred contractors on a number of occasions on account of cost.
He said initially he didn’t contest the decision of BPP but that later he found it necessary to draw the attention of the agency to the fact that the lowest bidder was not always the best for a job. At that point, it was made clear to him that he needed to provide convincing and documented argument to persuade the due process office on why it shouldn’t award a contract to the lowest bidder.