Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The House of Representatives Committee on Public Procurement has ordered an audit into the procurement processes of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) between 2011 and 2015.
This is as it also opened investigations into allegations of fraudulent practices by the interim Management and Managing Director of FHA, Prof. Mohammed Al-Amin, following a petition filed before the House Committee on Public Petitions.
The interim Management and Al-Amin are being accused of violations of the Public Procurement Act 2007 concerning renovation done on the headquarters of the FHA, construction of two-bedroom flats in FHA Estate, Lugbe, Abuja, and award of construction contracts for water tanks.
The team is also accused of breaching public trust by allocating to themselves and their proxies, plots of land which were designated as green areas within Gwarimpa, converting guest houses at Kado Estate and Gwarinpa to personal use, and renovation and eventual fraudulent conversion of houses designated for Staff Housing Scheme to personal use.
In documents obtained by THISDAY, other alleged infractions include “unilateral extension of tenure of the interim management team without obtaining presidential approval.”
THISDAY gathered that the post procurement audit was ordered because the FHA has not been audited since 2007, yet spends an annual average of between N6 billion and N10 billion.
Specific allegations against the FHA MD, Al-Amin included that he oversaw the sale of 400 plots of government land at N40 million, way below the value, and also under-valued a N3.6 billion property in Lagos for sale at N1.7 billion. Al-Amin is also accused of contract splitting, collusion and over-invoicing.
Al-Amin appeared before the Public Procurement Committee on May 13, 2016 where he denied the allegations against him.
THISDAY however gathered that more infractions were unearthed at the meeting, which has resulted in the Public Procurement Committee requesting the collaboration of the Committee on Housing for a thorough investigation.
The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) in a June 2, 2016 letter addressed to the FHA has requested for documents to facilitate the post procurement audit.
The documents being requested include “procurement plans for 2013 – 2015, approved budget for 2013-2015, and all procurement files which include minutes of procurement planning committee, copies of adverts placed, signed bid returns sheets, minutes of bid opening meeting (both technical and financial), minutes of Tender Board Meeting, Award letters, executed contract agreement, schedule of payments made, vote books, bank guarantees received and project status.”