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The Abia State Government has cautioned Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to adhere rigorously to due process when awarding contracts.
The Government made it crystal clear that there should be no deviation from the annual budget estimates for capital projects, as authorised by the State House of Assembly.
Speaking in Umuahia, Dr. Oluebube Chukwu, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Due Process and Procurement, declared that the era of business as usual has come to an end.
Dr. Chukwu met with Mr. Philemon Ogbonna, the Commissioner for Environment, and members of the Ministry’s Management team for a fact-finding interactive meeting at the Due Process office in Government House Umuahia.
According to his statement, the administration under the leadership of Gov. Alex Otti places a strong emphasis on due process and will not permit any MDA to deviate from the state budget.
His statement clarified that the actions taken against unregulated projects are driven by the goal of curbing financial wastage.
An aide to Otti, who highlighted the significance of budgetary compliance, however, praised the Ministry for its dedication to adhering to financial regulations.
He affirmed that there would be no more instances of unregulated projects surpassing MDA’s thresholds without adhering to due process procedures.
He stated that these extreme abuses led to financial squandering and the improper use of government funds, orchestrated by individuals with malicious agendas against the state.
His statement elucidated the rigorous Due Process steps that all MDAs must rigorously follow, including project and contractor evaluations by the Ministry’s Tenders Board, culminating in the issuance of a Certificate Of No Objection to successful contractors.
‘Governor Alex Otti’s administration has jettisoned any form of shortcuts and practices that have impeded development in the state, and has made it mandatory for all contracts to be executed by all Ministries and Agencies to pass the Due Process tests.’
‘For any Project to be executed in the state, the Ministry’s Tenders Board, after publishing adverts for bids, will conduct all necessary pre-qualification, preliminary checks of the Project and the Contractors, and will forward the details of the successful Contractor to Due Process Office, who will at that stage, issue a Certificate Of No Objection to the successful Contractor.’
‘For Capital projects above the threshold of each Ministry, the Due Process Office will forward the Contract documents to the State Finance and General Purpose Committee (F&GPC), who, after satisfactory checks, will issue a recommendation letter to the Due Process Office.’
‘The Due Process Office then prepares the Due Process Compliance Certificate in company with the Recommendation Letter from F&GPC, which will be forwarded to the State Executive Council through the State F&GPC, and receives approval from them, before sending it back to the MDA.’
‘The MDA then forwards it to the Ministry of Justice for vetting, agreement, and other official actions. The contract documents will finally be brought back to the Due Process Office, who issues the Due Process Certificate, authenticating that required steps were taken in line with approved standards’, Chukwu explained.
He noted that the Due Process office, with the directive of the Governor, ‘is building a data bank of all Government Registered Contractors in the state’, and urged Ministries executing projects in the state to liaise with the Due Process Office for easy assessment.
Additionally, he mentioned that his office will soon initiate a performance review program for all government projects in the state, with a strong emphasis on maintaining quality standards.