From Yakubu Busari,J os
The management of Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), has been indicted in an alleged N118m contract scam.
The contract, which sparked off crisis in the institution, involves a contractor that was technically schemed out of a bidding process.
A contractor, Dantonic Investment Limited, had petitioned the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP), alleging violation of the procurement act by the management of the hospital.
In a letter dated February 03, 2020, referenced, BPP/S.1/CCM/20/VoL.1/013, and addressed to Dantonic Investment limited and signed by Olanrewaju Yusuf Olaleye, deputy director complaints, certification and monitoring, the BPP said a letter has been forwarded to the JUTH management to suspend further action pending a review of the process.
The letter reads; “The Bureau has forwarded your complaint to the hospital directing it to suspend any further action on the procurement, and forward all the relevant procurement document for independent review by it in line with the provisions of section 54(4)(a) of the public procurement act, 2007.”
When contacted, the Managing Director of Dantonic Investment Limited, Mr. Onah Christian Onaura, confirmed receipt of the BPP letter over alleged violation of the Procurement Act by the JUTH Management.
Onaura said; “I have written the JUTH management drawing their attention to the violation, of the BPP Act, because I posted the lowest amount of N114,095,168.25, but the contract was awarded to Andex Press, who posted the highest amount of N118,789,516.2.
“That was why I wrote a complaint to the BPP, drawing their attention for further action, yet the JUTH management went ahead with the execution of the project.”
The information revealed that ANDEX PRESS & ALLIED SERVICES LIMITED that was awarded the contract is registered by Corporate Affairs Commission with registration 745364 as a printing press that specialized in printing services and not a construction firm.
When contacted, the chairman of the Hospital Management Board, Mr. Barth Nwibe, distanced the board from the contract and directed all inquiries to be sent to the Chief Medical Director, saying that the board was not involved in the process.
According to him the “purported scandal of the award of N118m Amenity Ward contract for the permanent site of the tertiary hospital was lopsided and biased by the Medical Director who wanted to single handedly handle it himself.
Nwibe said; “I am aware of the complaint from a contractor, which I forwarded to the CMD, but the board was not involved in the award of the contract.”
On his own part, the Chief Medical Director, Professor Edward Banwat, confirmed the assertion of the Board’s chairman, stressing that the Procurement Act did not involve the board in contracts awards.
According to Banwat; “In the Act, the boards are not part of the procurement process.”
However, in spite of the CMD’s claim that the board is not involved in contract award, Article 7 of the Act establishing the board of teaching hospitals, section ( 1) a, b, and c, stipulates that the board is empowered to;
“Equip, maintain and operate the hospital so as to provide facilities for diagnosis, curative, promotion and rehabilitative service in medical treatment,” and; “To construct, equip, maintain and operate such clinic, outpatient departments, laboratories, research or experimental stations and other like institutions…,”
Further findings revealed that the Bureau for Public Procurement has written to one of the contractors assuring that the contract will be suspended pending the review of the process.
However, the Chief Medical Director of JUTH, insisted that the process was transparent and in line with laid down rules, adding that contractors not satisfied have the right to make complaints.
The CMD also said that his office has not received any letter from the BPE calling for the suspension of the project.
He said; “The law says anybody who is not satisfied will be shown the template of the analysis. A staff from there came and was satisfied with the analysis.
“Any complain we receive, we give it attention because we run a transparent process and you might post the lowest price but after the technical aspect, you might not be awarded the contract.”
Our medium gathered that the presidency through the BPP has directed the immediate suspension of the project pending the review of the bidding process but Dr Banwat remain adamant for the friend as Part of the complaints is hinged on the fact that the contract was awarded to a printing press as against a construction firm.
JUTH workers have recorded two major strike by Resident doctors and Health workers over an alleged poor management, is now faced with a serious credibility issue over the manner the contract was awarded.