By Udora Orizu
The House of Representatives at the plenary yesterday called for the immediate suspension of the acting Director-General of the Project Development Institute (PRODA), Enugu, Dr. Fabian Okonkwo, for alleged gross violation of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act.
Adopting a report of the Committee on Public Procurement, the lawmakers said Okonkwo and all principal staff of the Institute involved in the illegal payment of contractors should be referred to the relevant government anti-graft agencies for investigation and possible prosecution.
The House also directed that the Head of Accounts, Mr. Patrick Nebuwa, should also be suspended with immediate effect and handed over to relevant government anti-graft agencies for immediate investigation and possible prosecution.
Nebuwa is to be suspended for allegedly conniving with the acting director general of the institute to make illegal payment and reactivate account with Zenith Bank in total disregard to the president’s directive on Treasury Single Account (TSA) and without approval from the Accountant General’s office.
The House asked the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and the presidency to sanction the governing board of the institute for interfering in the executive functions of the institute.
Other recommendations approved included: “All the contracts that were awarded by the acting Director-General of Project Development Institute (PRODA), Enugu, Fabian Okonkwo, remain nullified, and all monies paid to the companies that were awarded contracts illegally should be recovered by relevant government anti-graft agencies immediately. The freezing of accounts of those companies that were paid illegally was also recommended.
“All contractors, who have completed and verified their jobs under the 2020 Appropriation Act prior to the assumption of office of Okonkwo, should be paid by PRODA Enugu immediately, and all payments should be completed before March 31, 2021.
“The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, and the SGF should ensure that the affairs of the agency are handed over to the most senior person that is not involved in these allegations, relying strictly on the instant circulars from SGF with regards to the handover of headship of agencies, until the determination of the investigative panel set up by SGF.”