- A group has alleged that brazen corruption is ongoing in the procurement of the implementing agent for the International Cargo Tracking Note (ICTN)
- ICTN is a web-based portal for managing the security and accuracy of cargo, freight, and vessels coming into and leaving Nigeria
- According to the anti-corruption, the process has been hijacked by the minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and an ex-government official
FCT, Abuja - A group, Citizens Advocacy for Social & Economic Rights (CASER), has accused a serving minister former government official of breaching public trust.
The executive director of CASER, Barrister Frank Tietie, made the allegations at a press conference attended by a Legit.ng reporter in Abuja.
He specifically accused the minister of transportation and Hassan Bello, the immediate past Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council of blatant disregard for legal standards of public procurement.
The group alleged that the minister ignored President Muhammadu Buhari’s earlier directive for an international competitive bidding to be conducted for the appointment of an agent to implement the International Cargo Tracking Note (ICTN) in Nigeria.
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“Many Nigerians, especially in the organised civil society and a section of the public service who are aware of the malfeasance that is driven by the elements at the Nigerian Shippers Council, are watching helplessly, at how much the politics of influence has been used to circumvent a process that is ordinarily and mandatorily expected to be an open, transparent, and competitive.
“Bidding that would engender confidence-building measures in the international community and ensure a corruption-free collection of revenue from Nigerian seaports, without compromising them as gateways for breaches of national security.
“We have taken this step to bring these issues to the public notice hoping these glaring infractions of public procurement standards are addressed in the interest of the Nigerian maritime economy and safety.
“We shall continue to discharge our obligations as citizens of Nigeria to do everything necessary, including but not limited to this action we have now taken by going to court to expose these forms of public corruption and abuse of official privilege.”
CASER insisted that the choice of companies to implement the ICTN does not have the capacity, adding that it is a flagrant breach of the Public Procurement Act.
The group added:
“In addition, we have instituted this case to prevent a repeat and reoccurrence of the P&ID saga which was meant to swindle Nigeria of billions of dollars for doing nothing.
“We don’t want these companies, both clearly incompetent companies to deliver on the ICTN to turn around and claim damages from our country when they are eventually sacked if they are appointed, which we hope will never happen for that will be against the interest of the people and government of Nigeria.
“It is therefore hoped that the minister of transportation, Chibuike Amaechi will call himself to order. He cannot pretend to be unaware of the infractions being perpetrated under the watch of his ministry.”
BudgIT raises alarm over Nigeria's spending problem
Meanwhile, Gabriel Okeowo, the chief executive officer of BudgIT, a civic tech non-profit organisation, has said that Nigeria has a spending problem.
He made the statement while reacting to the findings by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) that 257 projects amounting to N20.138 billion were duplicated in the 2021 budget.
Okeowo, said it is time for critical stakeholders to come to terms with the expenditure inefficiency problem.
Buhari vows to sanction govt officials over illegal recruitment
In a related development, President Buhari has reacted to the high level of corruption going on in the public workforce.
The president threatened to sanction those who bring personnel into the civil service through illegal recruitment, pad their payroll and retain ghost workers.
Buhari made this known on Tuesday, November 30, in Abuja while declaring open the third national summit on diminishing corruption in the public sector with the theme ‘Corruption and cost of governance: New imperatives for fiscal transparency.’