Less than one week after the managing director of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman stormed the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and secured approval for the dredging of Warri Port channel and upgrade of navigational aids, highest bidder in the contract who suddenly lost the bid to the lowest bidder has petitioned the National Assembly over what it described as manipulation of procurement process of the contract.
The petitioner, Dredging Atlantic Limited and its partners, Westmintser Dredging and Marine (DAW), in the protest letter submitted for consideration at the National Assembly claimed that it won the bid, but was short-change by NPA, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) who awarded the contract to another firm, Dredging International Services Limited (DISL) who bided lower than it for the job.
The petitioning firm, Dredging Atlantic Limited and its partners, Westmintser Dredging and Marine (DAW), in the document submitted for consideration at the National Assembly listed the jobs to include: replacement of navigational aids and minor dredging at the Delta Port in Warri.
The contract, according to the petitioner is for replacement of navigational aids and minor dredging at the Delta Port in Warri along Escravos Channel, worth $44million.
The petitioner is praying the lawmakers to use their Oversight Functions Window to enforce the provisions of Section 31 (5) of the Public Procurement Act 2007, which has allegedly been violated by the contract processing MDAs.
The petition signed by the company’s legal adviser, Mr. Liborous Oshoma, also accused the BPP of ignoring an official complaint made by DAW, while hurriedly concluding the administrative review of the bid process.
The petitioner accused the NPA of manipulating the publicly announced tender figures of DISL for the contract bid and the National Assembly to find out “how come the lowest bidder as publicly announced (DAW) had “errors” and or additional figures (increase) of N11,709,932.84 ($38,393.23) to arrive at $44,918,741.22 as against $44,880,348.21, while the highest bidder (DISL) had “errors” and or subtracted figures (a reduction) of $136,456.95 (N41,619,369.75) to arrive at $44,861,596.81, as against $44,998,053.73, from their announced figures”?
Besides, the highest bidder seeks to find out via the probing of the lawmakers why the BPP failed to comply with the provisions of Section 31 (5) of the Public Procurement Act 2007, and notify it of any arithmetic corrections, or invite it to either adopt or defend/deny the figures.
According to DAW, its technical partner, Nigerian Westminsters Dredging and Marine Ltd, have already worked on the said Escravos channel in the past, and is therefore conversant with the project as a versatile actor in the field.
DAW revealed in the petition that every effort it made to get the government bodies to remedy the situation failed to yield any result, hence it resorted to approach the National Assembly to prevail on the agencies to award the contract to DAW, or disqualify DISL the observed bidding breaches.