NECO’s can of worms •The shocking details as revealed by concerned insiders

June 2, 2021
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NECO’s can of worms •The shocking details as revealed by concerned insiders

Posted by News Express | 2 June 2021 | 527 times

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Concerned insiders at the National Examinations Council (NECO), whose Registrar, Prof. Godswill Obioma, died in controversial circumstances on Monday night, May 31, 2021, have released shocking details of alleged fake contract awards, contract splitting, inflation of contract figures and outright embezzlement in the agency. “We request a comprehensive forensic audit of NECO,” they said in a petition signed on their behalf by signed by Abudlkarim Umar and sent to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on November 17, 2020. Below is the text of the petition which dwelt on the malfeasance at NECO before late Prof. Obioma took over on May 22, 2020:

The National Examinations Council has become a haven of corruption under the leadership of the Acting Registrar (Mr. Abubakar Gana) and his S.A. (Mr. Ibrahrim Alih). Recall that in May 2018 the Chief Executive officer of NECO in the person of Prof. Charles B. Uwakwe was suspended alongside other Principal Staff for reasons of corruption and embezzlement of fund by the Minister for Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu. Upon appointment as the Acting Registrar, being the most senior Director at that time Mr. Abubakar Gana appointed one Mr. Ibrahim Alih, whose identity was unknown, to assume office as his Special Adviser (S.A.). It is noteworthy that Mr. Ibrahim Peter Alih has never been in the civil service and lacks the requisite experience to occupy a sensitive office such as that of the S.A. to the Chief Executive. Under the present leadership all manners of illegality and corrupt practices have progressed at an alarming level.

The infractions committed by the present leadership of NECO are not limited to these reported below, these ones are reported based on available evidence.

Award of Contracts above BPP Approved Thresholds

The Bureau of Public Procurement has clearly approved thresholds for procurement in all Government MDAs. The present management of NECO has engaged in the award of contracts without recourse to the allowable and approve thresholds for the award of contracts being that the Council neither has a standing Tenders Board or even a Committee. So many instances abound where the current administration in NECO has breached this government instruction. Named below are companies that have been awarded contracts above the thresholds of the approving personnel.

1. Yaliam Press Limited

2. Marvellous Mike Press Limited

3. Ramadan Press Limited

4. Kwality Printing and Packaging Limited

5. Baumasters Project Limited

6. Jinadu Ventures Limited

7. Descteck Universal Concept Limited

8. Amsy Global Services Limited

9. Jangade International Limited

Contract Splitting

Being clearly spelt out in the Public Procurement Act, it is a wrong practice to split a contract that should be awarded to a singular contractor. Since the present leadership of NECO took over the reins of authority in May 2018, they have severally engaged in the act of contract splitting. A glaring instance is in the Award of Contract for the Printing of 2019 SSCE (Internal) Sensitive Examination materials (for the June/July Examinations). Appropriately, this contract should be awarded to a singular contractor, but that was not the case. The same Award was split, and illegally awarded to 5 different contractors in May 2019. The Companies involved are listed below (See attached documents marked as Annexure A):

1. Mercy Trust Nigeria Limited

2. Ramadan Press Limited

3. Marvelous Mike Press limited

4. Binani Printing Press

5. Yaliam Press Limited

Outright Theft of Public Funds

In preparation for the 2019 June/July Senior School Certificate Examinations the award of contract for the printing of sensitive materials for the examination was recreated to represent two different Awards. This is clearly an act intended for the purpose of money laundering. Out of the original Contract Award titled: “OFFER OF CONTRACT FOR PRINTING OF 2019 SSCE (INTERNAL) SENSITIVE EXAMINATION MATERIALS”, another fictitious contract award was created titled “AWARD OF CONTRACT FOR DOCKETING OF PICKING LIST FOR CUSTODIAN POINTS, QUARANTINE OF STAFF, HIRING OF ADHOC STAFF, SORTING AND PACKAGING OF SENSITIVE CONFIDENTIAL EXAMINATIONS SECURITY MATERIALS”. The above named fictitious contract was awarded to 5 contractors, namely:

1. Mercy Trust Nigeria Limited

2. Ramadan Press Limited

3. Marvelous Mike Press Limited

4. Binani Printing Press

5. Yaliam Press Limited

For the purpose of clarity, the cost factor of the listed elements in the above mentioned fictitious contract is grossly negligible, and to drive this point home we shall do a definition of terminologies used in the above named fictitious contract.

1. Docketing is merely a label pasted on the external body of a package for easy identification. Picking list is a sheet of paper usually wrapped together with the content of a package but upon which the items in the package are listed.

2. Quarantine facilities are accommodation facilities within the premises of a printing press to keep the staff of the press within when sensitive materials are in production, it is a pre-requisite condition that must be satisfied before a printing press can be offered an award for the production of sensitive examinations materials.

3. Ad-hoc staff are casual staff who are employed by the printing press when there is an increased volume of work to be done, that can’t be handled by the permanent staff alone. Provision of Ad-hoc Staff is the sole responsibility of the press.

4. “Sorting and Packaging” remain part and parcel of the original contract and the responsibility of the contractor to carry out in order to secure and conveniently transport printed materials.

The sum of N512, 794,078.12k (Five Hundred and Twelve Million, Seven Hundred and Ninety Four Thousand and Seventy Eight Naira, Twelve Kobo) was siphoned from NECO by this singular heading in July 2019. This heist was masterminded by Mr. Ibrahim Alih while Mr. Abubakar Gana was necessary to append signatures and give approvals.

Attached herewith are evident documents and pictorial illustration of docketing and picking list (See attached documents marked as Annexure B).

Award of Fictitious Contracts

In the past two years of the current administration in NECO, so many fictitious contracts have been awarded. These contract awards are usually issued to companies of cronies of Gana and Alih but will not be executed or delivered.  The store officer is usually used to accept fake Delivery Notes and Invoices and eventually the money is cleared from the Finance Department. I have attached document to prove this. The fake contract awards favored the following companies:

1. Edokson International Investment Limited

2. Amsy Global Services Limited

3. Descteck Universal Concept Limited

4. Jangade International Limited

5. Kwality Printing and Packaging Limited

Inflation of Contract Figures

Since the inception of the current administration in NECO, no contract has been awarded and administered within the borders of the laws guiding public procurement. Under the watch of Gana and Alih, if the contract is not split or faked then the figures are inflated (Attached also are evident documents). The following companies were favoured by the inflated contract figures: 

1. Ramadan Press Limited

2. Marvelous Mike Press Limited

3. Yaliam Press Limited

Intimidation and Harassment of NECO Staff and Directors

In order not to be challenged and for his agenda to run smoothly, Mr. Ibrahim Alih has consistently employed the tactics of intimidation on the Staff and even Directors of NECO. He creates fear by threats of sack, unwanted transfer, name dropping and even open confrontation of the Staff and Directors of the Council. This has become a strategic way of getting Staff and Directors to do his wish. It is on record that on several instances he has harassed the Director of Finance and Accounts Mr. Jacob Samuel Ekele; Head of Procurement Department, Mr. Lukman O.A. Suleman, and the Council Auditor to doing his unethical interests. In fact, the Head of Procurement Department, Mr. Lukman Suleman has on several occasions been instructed by Alih to raise contract award letters without recourse to due process as enshrined in the public procurement act. Alih practically rendered the procurement department of NECO inactive, with the Head of Procurement Department, Mr. Lukman Suleman incessantly complaining of the undue interference of Alih in his job execution. He hijacked the entire procurement process without any standing tender’s board or committee and transferred all activities of procurement to his own office while totally negating due process and rule of law. Two people just decide on a contract, the Procurement Head is instructed to raise an award letter and the Director of Finance and Accounts is instructed to effect payment. Even the staff of the procurement department will tell you ‘they don’t know what is happening.’

Co-opting Dauda, the S.A. to the Minister of Education

Also co-opted by Mr. Ibrahim Alih in his nefarious activities is Dauda, who is S.A. to the Minister of Education Malam Adamu Adamu. Within this period, Dauda has remained a collaborator, providing necessary cover for the illegalities of the S.A. and the Acting Registrar at the Ministry. For instance, no petition or report sent to the Minister based on any infraction in NECO gets to him. A system of intercepting the documents is managed by Dauda. His activities are also unknown to the Minister. Dauda is also known to come to NECO regularly to collect large chunks of cash from the Director of Finance and Accounts, Mr. Jacob Samuel Ekele. He has also ensured that a substantive Registrar is not appointed in NECO by consistently laundering the image of the administration of Gana and Alih before the Honourable Minister, telling lies to create the impression that “they are doing well.”

Co-opting Kabiru, the Son of the Board Chairman

Mr. Ibrahim Alih co-opted Kabiru, the first son of the board chairman into the vast corruption masterminded by him in NECO, this is unknown to his father, Dr. Abubakar Sadiq, who is known for his uprightness, integrity and impeccable personality. Kabiru supplied the company presently used for Biometric Capturing and Verifications, Microbridge Technology Solutions Limited. It is noteworthy that the contract awarded to Microbridge was inflated and upon payment monies were kicked back to the Acting Registrar, S.A. and Mustapha (the Director of Examinations Administration) based on an established sharing formula.

Conclusion

Having devised that method of fake contract awards (awarding contracts without delivering or executing it), Contract splitting, inflation of contract figures, outright embezzlement in collaboration with the Council Auditor, Store Officer, the Head of Procurement Department and Contractors who are cronies of Alih and Gana the sum 3.2 Billion Naira has been filtered away just within a period of 18 months of the current administration in NECO.

It is worthy of note that all of these maladministration, manipulation, illegality, corruption and several violations of extant rules have been carried out without the knowledge of the NECO Board Chairman, Dr. Abubakar Sadiq whose name the duo have incessantly dropped.

Prayers

1. We request a comprehensive forensic audit of NECO.

2. A full investigation of the activities of the procurement department.

3. A full investigation of the activities in the store division.

4. All payments made to contractors over the past two years should be thoroughly investigated.

5. We call for a thorough investigation and possible prosecution of Abubakar Gana and Ibrahim Alih. Their ill acquired wealth confiscated and handed over to government.

6. Finally, we request that our identities be fully shielded due to the instances of victimization of staff who refused to be muzzled and spoke up against the current illegalities in the Council.

 


Source: News Express


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