BPP boss warns procurement officers against underhand practices

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The Director-General, Bureau of Public Procurement, Mamman Ahmadu has warned procurement officers against underhand practices in the discharge of their duties.

Uba Group

Ahmadu gave the charge on Monday in Lagos at the opening ceremony of the 2022 training programme leading to the induction/conversion of officers into the procurement cadre.

He said: “BPP will not take lightly to complaints on officers found to be involved in underhand practices.

“As the regulator of procurement process in Nigeria, we will provide support to officers who adhere to the principles of integrity, transparency, accountability and fairness in the discharge of their duties”.

Ahmadu warned that erring procurement officers found to be involved in corrupt practices would be handed over to the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission.

He said that BPP would harmonise existing procurement policies and set standards for developing the right legal framework and professional capacity for effective public procurement in Nigeria.

He advised the officers to adhere strictly to due processes, pointing out that their actions would determine the success of their Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

The BPP boss emphasized the need for constant training to improve the system and keep the officers up-to-date with emerging global trends.

Ahmadu emphasized the need for procuring entities to collaborate with BPP in setting requirement for recruitment into the procurement cadre.

“We expect that procuring entities will consult with BPP prior to recruitment and promotion of their certified procurement officers,” he said.

The BPP boss thanked anti-corruption agencies for the continuous support and collaboration in the fight against procurement fraud.

He said that 400 officers were participating in the training, adding that 700 applied from across the country.

In his speech, Bolaji Owosanoye, Chairman, ICPC, advised officers that easily compromise, to steer clear of the procurement line.

“If you compromise easily, do not get inducted. Save yourself from yourself.

“Procurement is for the morally strong. It involves buying, selecting consultants and contractors. If you are not of a clean mind, don’t be inducted otherwise you’ll soon be my customer at the ICPC,” he said.

According to Owosanoye, 20 to 30 per cent of the national budget goes to procurement.

“These expenditures are determined by procurement officers.

“To steal money, you must orchestrate a contract with the bids process handled by procurement officers.

“CBN"

“Sometimes, people will say they’re not responsible for fraud. They want to blame the Chief Executive Officer, but the default will be caused by the line officers.

“Procurement officers must conduct independent checks. That can save one a lot of trouble”.

He said bidders very often use false information with some forging bank statements to qualify for contracts.

“The system is porous. You have to strive to mitigate challenges. If you allow yourself to be used, you may just be in real trouble.

“If you cannot follow the rules and cannot be diligent, do not enter the procurement cadre.

“It is your task to mitigate corruption risks. Handle bids carefully. Be very transparent and firm. Stand by the rules.

“In this profession, there’s no defense stronger than following the rules by ensuring accountability and control.

“You must see public office as a public trust. You need self-protecting rules. It is the first step to guard you,” he said.

Owosanoye urged the officers to strive to strengthen the system “instead of weakening it”.

He reminded them that the law would always catch them for wrongs committed long after they had left service.

“We have a popular saying that 20-year-old pounded yam can still burn fingers. You must strive to protect your fingers,” he said.

The 400 officers will be expected to write an examination after the three weeks training.

NAN learnt that only successful officers would be inducted or converted into the procurement line. (NAN)