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Good Start: Senate Committee Vows to End Procurement Fraud in Federal Agencies

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ABUJA, Nigeria — The Senate Committee Chairman on Public Procurement, Senator Monday Okpebholo, declared an end to the era of procurement fraud in federal government’s Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, MDAs.

The announcement comes as a strong directive from the 10th Senate, which is set to investigate activities in the procurement system dating back to 2019 under the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

Speaking during an interview at the reception of the newly sworn-in Minister of Niger Delta, Alhaji Abubakar Momoh, in Abuja on Wednesday, August 23, 2023, Okpebholo conveyed a promise of sweeping changes.

“Many wrongs will be corrected. We want to make sure that only qualified persons get the contract job they tendered for,” he said. The Senator emphasized the commitment of the 10th Assembly to international best practices and due process in public procurement.

The Senator, who also represents the Edo Central senatorial district, criticised the previous system: “The idea of MDAs calling for bids and subjecting people to a rigorous exercise only to disappoint them with a biased selection is wicked and unacceptable.”

With the inauguration of President Bola Tinubu’s cabinet, Okpebholo assured Nigerians that they should expect a “better procurement experience” that aligns with the “renewed hope for all citizens.”

“I can assure you that this Senate is sincere about the new deal we are bringing forward per the renewed hope of Mr. President and the uncommon Senate President,” he stated.

On his readiness to lead this transformative mission, Okpebholo, a student of Business Administration and an expert in Information and Communication Technology, ICT, expressed confidence in modernizing the procurement process through technology, diligence, and integrity.

He also said that the committee members are highly experienced in governance and business, adding, “I can assure you that my committee will investigate activities in the procurement system since 2019 and ensure we right the wrongs to regain the confidence of the public.”

The Senator’s comments reflect the broader efforts by the 10th Senate to implement effective checks and balances in federal agencies and to eradicate corruption that has long plagued the public procurement system.

“We want a system where you don’t need to know anybody before you can bid or win contract jobs in this country. That’s our mandate, and we are set to carry it out to the letter,” he concluded.

With the 10th Senate seemingly committed to a new standard of governance, the coming months will be a critical period for proving the efficacy of these anti-corruption measures in Nigeria’s federal procurement systems.

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