Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The acting Director General of the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Vincent Akpotaire, monday told a House of Representatives Committee that he was unaware of an ongoing investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for insurance-related issues in his organisation.
The Hon. Adekunle Akinlabi-led ad hoc committee is charged with investigating insurance fraud in ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), running into billions of naira, between 2013 and 2016.
The committee members described the claim by Akpotaire as irresponsible, querying how an acting head of an organisation could feign ignorance of such investigations.
The BPE was also accused of breaching procurement laws by not advertising for insurers, but just selecting them.
The committee queried the modalities for the selection of some insurance and brokerage firms, by the organisation for its insurance policies, and also queried why a single company was selected as lead underwriter and lead broker.
These details were found in documents submitted by the BPE to the ad hoc committee.
The acting DG in his response, admitted that the BPE had not advertised for insurance brokers and underwriters from 2009 to date.
This, he however, attributed to the cost of advertising being more than insurance covers, for the period under review.
He added that the successful firms were handpicked from a pool of firms after the organisation conducted thorough investigations on their status by the Nigerian Insurance Commission (NAICOM).
“As I sit here, I cannot confirm that we breached the Procurement Act because for the year under review, we could not even afford to pay for group life, so there is no way we can advertise,” he said.
“Whatever I say concerning the investigation will be hearsay because I am not aware of any investigation,” Akpotaire said.
The committee adjourned till next Monday with instructions to the acting DG to get updated information on the status of the EFCC investigations.
Also at the hearing, the committee refused to take submission from the management of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) and Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) for presenting incomplete documentation.