ICPC, EFCC probe NPC for contracts awarded

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By Yemi Balogun

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have begun the probe of contracts awarded from 2021 to date by the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Press Council (NPC), Mr Francis Nwosu.

The anti-corruption agencies’ resolution to probe the council might not be unconnected to the petitions written last year to EFCC and ICPC against Nwosu by aggrieved staff of the council.

The aggrieved staff in the petition last year alleged that: “In 2021, the procurement process for all the projects was a complete charade as it was hijacked by an external body under the directive of the Executive Secretary, manipulated, and failed to meet the due process requirements while the award of contracts was based on cronyism and self-interest.”

ICPC responded to the petition in a letter dated June 20, 2023, with reference number, ICPC/OPS/CPTG/114/2023, titled, “Investigation Activities: Notice of Invitation/Request for Documents/Contact Persons.”

Signed by H.M. Hassan, Head, CEPTD, the letter was received on June 27, 2023.

In the letter obtained by DAILY POST, the commission said it was investigating allegations concerning the violation of the provisions of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

The letter stated: “Pursuant to Section 28 of the above-cited act, you are hereby requested to direct and release a competent officer to appear before the undersigned at the Commission’s headquarters, Central Business District, Abuja, on 3rd July 2023, at 10:00 hours for interview.

“The designated officer is to come along with documents stated below in respect of the constituency/capital projects hereto attached.

“Contract files for the projects; evidence of payment for the projects; evidence of financial releases from government for the projects; bid documents in respect of the projects v. BOQ/BEME; any other relevant document in respect of the above.”

ICPC further requested the council to release and direct competent officer(s) who can speak and guide the commission’s field officers in tracking the projects.

It added: “Your submission in this regard should contain the contact details of the nominated officer(s).”

Also, the Abuja Zonal Command of EFCC in its letter addressed to Nwosu with reference number, CR:3000/EFCC/ ABJ/ZN/CT GI-PS2/TA/VOL.04/153, signed by Adebayo Adeniyi and dated June 22, 2023, was received by the council on July 3, 2023.

The anti-graft agency said it was investigating a case, and the need to obtain clarification from “your office” has become imperative.

EFCC said: “In view of the above, you are kindly requested to furnish the following information. List of awarded contracts for the year 2021 till date; the contract files of the companies that were awarded the contracts; any other information that may assist the Commission with its investigation.

‘This request is made pursuant to Section 38 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004. Your cooperation in this regard is highly solicited, please.”

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