James Emejo in Abuja
The Director General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Mr. Aminu Diko has proposed a term of imprisonment not exceeding 2 years or a fine of not less than N250,000.00 for an individual and N1 million for a corporate entity for breach of specific clauses of the proposed Public Private Partnership Regulatory Commission Act which is before the National Assembly.
In his submissions at a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Special Duties, Chaired by Hon. Nasiru Sani Daura, on a bill for an Act to repeal the ICRC Establishment Act, 2005 and enact the Public Private Partnership Regulatory Commission, he said however, said there’s the need to separate the penalties as some of the offences do not carry criminal intent.
“For those offences, fines will suffice,” he said, adding that “For offences that carry criminal intent, imprisonment without the option of fine would suffice.
“There is also the need for blacklisting for offences listed under section 38 on a case by case basis. Also enters and attempts to enter show criminal intent even where just an attempt has been made.”
According to him, Section 38 of the proposed PPP Act should state that “A person who-(a) enters or attempts to enter into a collusive agreement, whether enforceable or not, with a supplier, contractor or consultant where the prices quoted in their respective tenders, proposal or quotations are or would be higher than would have been the case had there not been a collusion between the persons concerned.
“(b) conducts or attempts to conduct procurement fraud by means of fraudulent and corrupt acts, unlawful influence, undue interest, favour, agreement, bribery or corruption;
“(c) directly, indirectly influences or attempting to influence in any manner the procurement process to achieve an unfair advantage in the award of a procurement contract; (d) splits the tenders to avoid the monetary thresholds set or for any other unauthorized purpose; (e) bid-rigs… commits an offence under this Bill.”
The lawmakers found it necessary to repeal the ICRC Act because it had failed to stimulate the kind of completion required to attract Investment into the country.
Diko had further informed the committee that a lot of ministries, departments and agencies of government (MDAs) currently lacked the requisite capacity to structure and develop bankable public – private partnership (PPP) projects that could attract private sector funds into the country.
He further submitted that while PPPs have been used across world over the years, they are complex in terms of structuring and execution.
He clarified that while ICRC provide regulatory oversight and does not own the projects, the MDAs are statutorily responsible for providing services as well as developing bankable PPP projects.
The proposed Act, however, aims to strengthen and enhance the supervisory role of the commission to assist public and private sectors in enhancing of construction, development, designing, operation or maintenance of infrastructure or development projects of the Federal Government through public private partnership arrangements and for other matters related thereto.