Nigeria: NIS Petitions EFCC Over Alleged N3.9 Billion Contract Scam

29 October 2020

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the Ministry of Interior officials and a private firm, Messrs Continental Transfect Technique Limited, over alleged N3.9 billion contract for the production of Combined Residence Permit Alien Card(CERPAC).

The Comptroller General of NIS, Muhammad Babandede, made this known yesterday when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Public Account.

His appearance was sequel to the query issued against the agency by the Auditor General of the Federation, Anthony Ayine, who expressed concern that his audit inspection revealed that nothing had been done at new issuing centres in 28 states command of the NIS, even after N3.9 billion had been deducted or set aside for the project.

Addressing the Senate Committee on Public Accounts headed by Senator Mathew Uroghide, the NIS boss absolved his agency of involvement in the alleged contract scam.

According to him, the contract in question was between the Ministry of Interior and Messrs Continental, maintaining that the Immigration Service was included in the deal as a mere enforcing agency on behalf of the Ministry of Interior.

He expressed the hope that the EFCC would recover the fund from the contractor and the Ministry of Interior officials after its investigation, as he maintained that the project was poorly executed.

Babandede said: "The Immigration Service was included in the deal as a mere enforcing agency on behalf of the Ministry of Interior. Therefore, the NIS may not have the satisfactory answer to the query from this contract."

The Auditor General of the Federation had raised concern over the manner the contract to replace the paper Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card in use with combined special purpose card that would ensure computer legibility and 21st century computer compatibility was executed.

Aside its observation that nothing was done in 28 issuing centres across the country, the Auditor General Office also observed that "the actual cost for the establishment of the 28 new issuing centres was not stated in the contract agreement."

Ayine's audit inspection, which formed the basis of the query issued to the CG of NIS read in part: "An agreement for combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC) was entered into between the Federal Ministry of Interior, Abuja, and the company on May 25, 1999.

"The purpose of this contract was to replace the paper Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card in use with combined special purpose card that would ensure computer legibility and 21st century computer compatibility.

"Applicants would pay $350 which formed the basis for sharing ratio as follows: Federal government, 50 percent; contractor, 40 percent; and designated account of the ministry as operation cost, 10 percent.

"The following irregularities were observed: Federal government, 20 percent; contractor, 40 percent; contractor, 25 percent; contractor, 7 percent; NIS, 7 percent, and the Ministry of Interior, 1 percent.

"As at December 2015, physical audit inspection revealed that nothing had been done at new issuing centres in 28 states command, even after N3.9 billion had been deducted or set aside from sharing ratio purpose between 2014 and 2015.

"The actual cost for the establishment of the 28 new issuing centres was not stated in the contract agreement.

"The duration of the contract of the project, the eventual cost implication and the date prior to 45 percent of the ratio reverted back to the federal government was not known and was not stated.

"The CG has been requested to address irregularities mentioned as well as account for N3.9 billion already deducted, forwarding evidence of action taken for audit verification."

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