House Investigates Alleged Unlawful Administrative Charges on Contracts by MDAs

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Udora Orizu in Abuja

The House of Representatives has set up an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate alleged cases of indiscriminate and unlawful administrative charges on contracts and such percentage charges on project implementation by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the federal government.

The resolution was sequel to the adoption of a motion on the, “Need to Investigate Unlawful Administrative Charges and Levies by MDAs in the Award of Contracts,” sponsored by Hon. Kpam Jimin Sokpo.

Moving the motion, Sokpo said the House is aware that the most critical component of the annual budget is the capital and recurrent expenditure estimates approved by the National Assembly for the provision of critical infrastructure and to cater for national priority projects.

He said the House is also aware that various MDAs are mandated by the Appropriation Act of each year to execute such provisions on projects by awarding contracts to qualified and competent companies and entities in line with extant laws while maintaining fairness, reliability, transparency, accountability and ethical standards in the process.

The lawmaker while, acknowledging that the process of awarding contracts on projects mandates contractors to pay such taxes as Value Added Tax(VAT) and Withholding Tax, and are the only charges required by law for such contractors to pay to the government for the award of the contracts, he expressed concerns by the alleged arbitrary, indiscriminate and unlawful administrative charges, levies and contract fees charged by MDAs ranging from five per cent to 25 per cent of contract sums to be paid by contractors to officials of the MDAs.

He said:”Disturbed that such charges by the MDAs are unlawful, fraudulent and clear cases of corrupt practices as such monies when collected, are not remitted to government coffers. Further aware that when contractors are compelled to pay such advance fees, there is the high tendency of not keeping to the terms of the contract as such projects are often abandoned or poorly executed.

“Cognisant of the provisions of Section 88 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) which states that each House of the National Assembly shall have power by resolution published in its journal or in the Official Gazette of the Government of the Federation to direct or cause to be directed an investigation into any matter or thing concerning which it has the power to make laws, and the conduct of affairs of any person, Authority, Ministry or Government Department charged or intended to be charged, with the duty of or responsibility for executing or administering laws enacted by National Assembly and disbursing or administering money appropriated or to be appropriated by the National Assembly and that such powers are exercisable only to expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by it.”

Adopting the motion, the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila set up the adhoc committee which includes, the motion sponsor Hon. Kpam Jimin Sokpo, Hon. Muraino Ajibola, Hon. Shehu Balarabe, Hon. Henry Nwawuba, Hon. Aliyu Ibrahim, Hon. Hassan Fulata and some others.