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NITDA pantami
Director General of NITDA, Dr. Isa pantami

EFCC’s probe of NITDA’s contract issues may mar eNigeria summit

As the eNigeria Conference, put up by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) begins today in Abuja, several IT stakeholders from public and private sector may be preoccupied by the trending allegations and ongoing probe of the agency’s 2017 budget estimates.
The Economics and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is currently probing the agency following a petition written against the management over its spending of the 2017 budget estimates by a Kaduna-based NGO, Good Governance and Accountability Monitoring Group (GGAMG).
Few weeks ago, the agency had issued a statement claiming that it is yet to access its 2017 budgetary allocation and that no infraction is being committed by the agency.
However, GGAMG in a petition titled; ‘Like Jack, Like Pantami: NITDA Stinks’, GGAMG alleged that some contractors who were engaged in 2015 by the Agency have been paid fully the balance of their contractual agreement.
But few others whose jobs were certified okay and issued with the letter to the effect, are still being owed while interest on the loans they sourced from banks to complete the job on schedule keep accumulating.
The petitioners; Muhammad Yusuf and Rebecca Emeleogwu, National Coordinator and Convener respectively of the GGAMG had also alleged that the current Director General was a replica of the ousted DG Peter Jack especially on matters relating to contracts’ awards, secondment of staff and other sundry issues.
The petition also alleged disobedience to Procurement Act and perceived grand plan to cede the entire NITDA budget for the year to a certain company (Galaxy Blackbone), a development they argued could affect the nation’s economy as quantum of over 180million Nigerians who could benefit from the contract, may be sidelined in the process.
Reacting to the development in an interview, the Minister of Communications, Barr Adebayo Shittu revealed that the EFCC is on the matter and its report is highly awaited.
According to him, “Before I received the letter, the case was with EFCC but merely copied me. Since that is done, it is not in my power to investigate alleged criminality. I think we should look up to EFCC on that matter”.
“Of course NITDA has also responded and gave me a copy of its response but I don’t have the prerogative power to investigate. If the matter had not gone to EFCC, I would have set up a committee to look into it.
Shittu averred that “I am not saying people in NITDA or other government agencies are saint or angels but you have to look at the two ways deeply. At my level, I wish EFCC, to whom the original petition was address take it up and take a decision and report appropriately”.

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