By Archibong Jeremiah
CROSS RIVER state Governor Ben Ayade has appointed Commissioners for the Ministries of Finance and Agriculture and Natural Resources after an ICIR-funded investigation exposing the soya beans farm project contract award scandal.
The two ministries had stayed without Commissioners for months before the investigation revealed that the contract envisaged to cost N1,541,003,500.50 awarded to Swamaco Global limited breached the established provisions of the extant laws including the State Due Process Guidelines and Rules for Procurement of Goods, Works, and Services, issued by the Due Process And Price Intelligence Bureau (DPPIB) in November 2007 and revised in 2020.
The DPPIB is a creation of the State Due Process and Price Intelligence Law (Law No. 9). It was enacted in 2011 and reviewed in 2020. It is an adaptation of the Public Procurement Act, of 2007.
Due to the absence of Commissioners in the two Ministries, it was difficult for the CrossRiverWatch the investigating platform to get officials to confirm whether the project enjoyed any waiver, given that it was awarded in 2019.
The six weeks investigation was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, The ICIR.
Oliver Orok, hitherto Commissioner for Sustainable Development, was moved to the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, while Goddy Eta was assigned to the Ministry of Finance.
Orok and Eta were appointed alongside ten others.