Abuja — The Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF), Mr. Anthony Ayine, has queried the former Registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, over payment for 21 contracts totalling N7.3 billion without due process.
The JAMB chief executive was said to have awarded the contracts between 2012 and 2013 in vagrant breach of the March 2009 extant circular of Bureau for Public Procurement.
This query was contained in the report of the Office of the Auditor General of Federation submitted to the Senate Committee on Public Accounts headed by Senator Mathew Urhoghide for necessary legislative oversight.
The report stated that the response by the then JAMB Registrar to the query "did not satisfactory explain the query".
The Auditor General's report stated inter alia: "Audit examination of procurement documents and other records of JAMB revealed that 21 payment vouchers for amount totaling N7.1 billion were in respect of contracts approved by JAMB Registrar outside his authorised approval threshold of N2.5 million for supplies and N5 million for works.
"This was contrary to Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP)-approved revised threshold for service-wide application as conveyed in circular No. SGF/OP/1/S.3/VIII/57 of 11 March 2009.
"The Registrar/Chief executive was requested to explain why he acted outside his authorised approval threshold and also to furnish evidence of ratification by the JAMB tender board, Ministerial Tenders Board or Federal Executive Council.
"In response with reference number JAMB/FIN/127Vop.2/171 dated May 2016, the registrar stated that the awards were based on agreement entered into for a pre-determined period preceding the time of the audit and certain job cannot be subjected to general contracting. This response did not address the query.
"It was observed that several contracts were split in 2012 and 2013 accounting year in order to circumvent approval limits of the various authorities. These contracts were approved by the Registrar, who had no authority to do so.
"A sample of 51 payment to vouchers amounting to N247 million were in breach of the extant circular of March 2009 on splitting of contracts and financial regulations 3116 and 3117.
"The Registrar was requested, in line with Financial Regulations 3116 to explain within 21 days of the date of my report why he indulged in splitting of contracts.
"His response dated May 14, 2016 did not satisfactorily address the query."
Based on the Auditor-General's report, THISDAY learnt that the Senate committee on Public Accounts will be expected to invite JAMB to come and defend the various allegations raised against the parastatal in the report.