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FG in secret plot to cut off BPP, due process in award of $800m power contract to US firm

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PREMIUM TIMES has authoritatively sighted a document that tends to show that the federal government is closing in on awarding a contract to overhaul high-voltage transmission lines across the country but without due process.

Additional revelation also hinted that the deal may be funded from the planned $30bn loan which is currently having approval challenges from the National Assembly.

According to the report, the contract is being planned for CTC Global, an electric utility firm based in California.

PREMIUM TIMES also insisted that should the administration proceed with the contract in the manner being planned; the award would make an absolute mockery of the administration’s platitudes about fighting corruption.

Additional details reported by the medium revealed that already, Abubakar Atiku, the managing director of Transmission Company of Nigeria, has forwarded a recommendation letter for the award of the contract to CTC Global to Power, Works and Housing Minister, Mr. Babtunde Fashola.

According to the report, it was after making effusive case for a blanket adoption of CTC Global, without any competitive bidding, that Atiku started prevailing on the minister to “accept the initial proposal” and “provide” a contract letter to the firm.

In the letter, dated November 18, 2016, Mr. Atiku said the deal would see Nigeria’s existing 330KV and 132 KV power transmission cables upgraded from the current Aluminum Conductor Steel Reinforced (ACSRs) types to Aluminum Conductor Composite Core Conductors (ACCC).

The ACCC is an improved technology that has twice the capacity of the ACSRs and can easily be retrofitted on the existing lines, eliminating the hurdles of dismantling current cables to lay new ones, experts say.

But the modality being adopted for the award of the contract appears a contravention of federal laws on award of contracts which require open advertisement and competitive bidding for government jobs and supplies.

Under Nigerian Public Procurement Act (PPA), the $800 million contract should go through open competitive bidding.

The Act, enacted in 2007, prescribes principles by which public procurement entities within the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies should conduct their affairs. The principles, which include honesty, integrity, transparency, accountability, fair competition, economy and efficiency and value for money, apply to all transactions, large or small, and describe the behaviour expected of every public officer in the conduct of public procurement. The spirit of the Act is to offer all interested contractors, suppliers and consultants a level playing field on which to compete and thereby, directly expand the purchaser’s options and opportunities.

Officials said the TCN and the power ministry cannot hide under the restricted tendering provisions under Section 40 of the Procurement Act to award the contract to the American firm because CTC Global is not the only producer or supplier of Aluminum Conductor Composite Core Conductors in the world.

Besides, Section 40 of the Act says: “Subject to the approval by the Bureau, a procuring entity may for reasons of economy and efficiency engage in procurement by means of restricted tendering if : (a) the goods, works or services are available only from a limited number of suppliers or contractors ; (b) the time and cost required to examine and evaluate a large number of tenders is disproportionate to the value of the goods, works or services to be procured ; or (c) the procedure is used as an exception rather than norm…”

The report further noted that apart from its legal implications, taxpayers stand to lose billions of naira should the deal proceed in its current form, some officials said.


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