• CAC confirmed 106 firms were registered, 54 non-existent in FIRS database
By Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
Revelations have continue to emerge that the administration of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) between 2011 and 2015 was characterised by blatant disregard for the country’s laws regarding doing business in Nigeria as documents have shown that some of the 354 companies secured open-ended contracts, while some unregistered firms also secure contracts with the programme.
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has so far been able to confirm the incorporation status of only 106 out of the 354 companies that executed different contracts for PAP in the same period, while the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has no record of at least 54 of the companies in its database.
According to documents from the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, a total of N338,597,564,211 was released to the Amnesty Office under the supervision of the former Coordinator of the Programme, Mr. Kingsley Kuku. PAP has a self-accounting status.
Breakdown of the monetary releases include N96,457,913,901.75 (2011), N66,176,431,901.50 (2012), N66,781,093,760.68 (2013), N62,121,558,683.41 (2014) and N47,060,565,933.72 (2015).
National regulations require that companies executing contracts with Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government, must be in compliance with tax, pension, insurance, and industrial training fund regulations.
The companies are being investigated alongside PAP by the House of Representatives Joint Committee on Public Procurement and Niger Delta over alleged violations of the Public Procurement Act, and due process in the administration of the amnesty programme.
Global Oil Services Limited with a total contract sum of N387 million, does not have a record of incorporation. The company, in 2011, was contracted to train 38 delegates in navigation and sea diving at Gdynia Maritime University, Poland.
While the contract was executed, there were several queries as details of eight delegates, including certification and graduation dates were not found.
Also, 11 of the delegates had allegedly returned to Nigeria after just one-month in Poland because they could not cope with the academic and practical workload at the Polish university.
There is no record of any refunds to the PAP.
Generic College Limited, one of the all 354 companies secured an open-ended contract on May 22, 2013, to train amnesty delegates (former militants) for a duration of six months, at the cost of N550,000 per trainee.
The training programme included sea term experience, introductory training in entrepreneurship, business management, computer literacy, life skills self management, goal setting, team building and leadership.
The fees also included accommodation and feeding of the delegates.
The company received an advance payment of N24.9 million from PAP on June 21, 2013.
Curiously though, the contract agreement did not specify the number of delegates to be trained by Generic College or the duration of the contract.
Documents from the FIRS headquarters in Abuja revealed that 52 of the companies are not in its database.
Some of these included Deep Water Pipeline Service Nigeria Limited, KDI Oil and Gas, and Royal Docs Services.
Another 54 of the companies were in the FIRS database without evidence of tax payment, while another 83 had evidence of some payment, but were without tax clearance certificates.
The FIRS noted that only 46 of the 354 firms were in full compliance with tax regulations, with evidence of tax payment and clearance certificates.
At the committee’s investigative hearing last Monday, the former Director of Procurement of the PAP, Mr. Durojaiye Ola Tikolo, had said the emergency nature of the contracts, did not allow for time to thoroughly verify that the firms were in compliance with public procurement laws.
Tikolo explained that all contracted firms were required to swear to affidavits that their papers for the minimum requirements of the Public Procurement Act, were genuine and in order.
The committee members however, disagreed with his explanations, noting that the emergency nature of the contracts does not justify non-adherence to laid down procedures, despite a presidential waiver granted to the PAP.