By Ismail Auwal
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, and President Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, have reportedly clashed over a million dollar contract awarded without due process.
According to Premium Times’ investigation, Ameachi had allegedly awarded the contract to 2 companies– MedTech Scientific Limited and Rozi International Limited– in ways “that violated procurement law.”
The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), which is responsible for ensuring due process, had proetested that there was no transparent bidding process before the two mentioned companies were handpicked for the contract.
In a bid to assert his influence and ensure that global best practice is followed when hiring contractors for the implementation of the International Cargo Tracking Note (ICTN) scheme, which is housed in the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Gambari attempted to curtail the process initiated by Amaechi.
This brazen attempt to meddle with the contractual process angered Amaechi and forced him to send a memo to the President seeking for two prayers: 1) Restraining Gambari from interfering in Transportation Ministry’s procurement activities, and 2) Approval to continue with the contract process already initiated.
Amaechi also told President Buhari that Gambari’s daughter, Bilkisu, had approached him for the same contract, which he denied her- alluding to the likelihood of Gambari having a vested interest in the matter.
“I am particularly concerned that his opposition to my Ministry’s initiatives in relation to the ICTN Scheme has increased in tempo following the visit of a certain Bilkisu Gambari, at his behest, to my office with her partners to solicit for the award of this same ICTN contract — a request that was not granted,” Amaechi wrote in his letter to the President.
“It appears to me that the Chief of Staff’s continued advocacy and advice that this sensitive contract is split into several tranches with multiple service providers – even against standard practice in several jurisdictions – is motivated by the desire to satisfy multiple partners such as those mentioned above.”
“In light of the foregoing, | respectfully request Your Excellency’s intervention and directives on the following issues:
i) That the Chief of Staff refrain from these multiple acts of interference in my Ministry’s and the agencies’ procurement processes in the interest of service harmony and to ensure that Your Excellency is given the benefit of honest and objective advice, devoid of personal interest at all times, particularly in matters affecting the Federal Ministry of Transportation; and
ii) That the procurement process, as previously approved by Mr. Excellency, be continued and completed by the Federal Ministry of Transportation/Nigerian Shippers’ Council.”
In his reply, the President granted Amaechi’s prayers and directed Gambari to convey the approval.
“I write to forward reference A to you to draw your kind attention to Mr. President’s notation of your prayers in para 5(i) (-refraining Mr. Gambari) and approval of (ii) (-continuation of the project) on page 2,” the reply memo says.
“Submitted for your consideration, please.”