Rumbling in Aso Rock over multi-billion Naira procurement process

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There is growing tension between two key aides of President Muhamadu Buhari over a multi-billion Naira procurement process in the Ministry of Aviation.

The two gladiators, Rotimi Amaechi who is the minister of Aviation and the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari are at dagger drawn over contractors appointed to implement the International Cargo Tracking Note (ICTN) scheme.

According to a report by Premium Times, Ameachi in a leaked memo to President Buhari accused Gambari of interference with the procurement process in his ministry,

According to the report, Amaechi awarded the security-sensitive contract to two companies – MedTech Scientific Limited and Rozi International Limited – in ways that breached the procurement law and caused the Bureau of Public Procurement to complain about lack of due process.

It was learnt that he brushed aside BPP’s advice that only a competitive bidding exercise was appropriate. BPP said the contractors were “hand-picked” instead of a process that would have allowed interested companies, locally and internationally to compete.

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Gambari, on the strength of a BPP’s memo decrying the “embarrassing” process followed by Amaechi, had still been desirous of causing a reversal.

In a memo dated October 14 and addressed to the President, Mr Ameachi said the Chief of Staff had consistently sought to impose his interests on issues relating to procurement processes in his ministry.

He also said he had evidence the Chief of Staff was not acting in the public interest but to benefit from the contract through proxies, one of which was Gambari’s daughter, Bilkisu Gambari, who approached him for the contract.

“I am particularly concerned that his opposition to my Ministry’s initiatives in respect of the ICTN Scheme has increased in tempo after the visit of a certain Miss Bilkisu Gambari, at his behest, to my office with her partners to solicit for the award of this same ICTN contract — which request was not granted,” Mr Amaechi said in his letter to the President.

He requested that Mr. Gambari refrain from interfering with the procurement process of his Ministry and the agencies in the interest of service harmony.

Amaechi’s letter was received at the office of the President on October 15 and subsequently the President noted and once again approved the continuation of the procurement process, which the BPP said was flawed.

In a way that suggests humiliation, the president directed Gambari to reply to Amaechi and assure him that Buhari had noted his complaint and approved that the procurement should continue.

The two contractors awarded the shipping tracking scheme contract have no record of work in the area. MedTech is a healthcare company, and Rozi is a property development firm.