Customs clears air on alleged 191 contracts awarded in one day

Peter Olaniyi

The Nigeria Customs Service has denied the allegation of awarding about 191 contracts worth over N1 billion awarded in one day under the current management team of the Service.
In a statement issued by the Service’s National Public Relations Officer, Joseph Attah yesterday, the Customs said  the information circulating on various online platforms were not true and misleading.

According to him “Yesterday, the House Investigative committee on unspent funds within 10 years period played host to the Comptroller General of Customs, Col Hameed Ibrahim Ali.
“The focus was and is on unspent funds  for a period between 2010 to 2020.
“While CG  appeared before the committee, questions were asked about contracts that were even  awarded before his appointment as CGC.
“There were obvious mix and discrepancies, hence the committee suggested a sub committee including members of the NASS and the Service (which has been set up already) to iron out the grey areas before representation.”
According to him, It is therefore surprising that some mischief makers through online platforms have gone to town with twisted narrative that 191 illegal contracts were awarded by the CGC in one day, saying that the information is not true and does not  represent the true position of what transpired at the committee seating.
Recall that the House of Representatives ad hoc Committee on Unspent Funds by Ministries, Departments  queried the Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) for bloated figures in its capital components, which is not in line with the Appropriation Act.
The committee, which is investigating zonal intervention and unspent funds by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) issued the query on Tuesday in Abuja.
 The Chairman of the committee, Mr Francis Uduyo (PDP-Akwa Ibom) expressed worry at the irregularities in the financial statements of the NCS.
He said that the agency has breached the Public Procurement Act by recycling  three companies for 10 years to carry out its contracts.
The lawmaker frowned at 191 contracts worth over a billion naira awarded by the customs without due process.
“This is not acceptable and parliament will not condone any breach of Acts of parliament no matter the reason. These expenditures do not reflect what is approved in the budget and it is in clear breach of the Public Procurement Act,’’ he said.

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