FMC Bida accused of making multiple unapproved payments

FEDERAL Medical Centre, Bida, Niger state, have been accused of making multiple unapproved payments running into hundreds of millions on the funds it expended in 2020, as revealed in the hospital’s audit by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation (OAuGF) for the year.

The audit report released by the (OAuGF) in December 2023 and made public recently showed that the medical facility was enmeshed in 26 corruption scandals amounting to the sum.

Gross misconduct by the hospital includes irregular awards and payments of contracts and non-remittance of tax payments to relevant tax authorities, amongst others.

Although the audit report did not state the medical director’s name, findings show that Muhammad Aminu-Usman was in charge of the facility during the period captured by the report.

Constant breach of the procurement act

Findings by the OAuGF showed repeated violations of the procurement act by the medical facility.

Section 24(1) of the 2007 Public Procurement Act (PA) states that except as provided by the Act, all procurements of goods and works by all procuring entities shall be conducted by open competitive bidding, the facility failed to provide evidence to show that the procurement was a result of open competitive bidding.

Paragraph 2397 of the Financial Regulations 2009 states that a certificate of no objection to award direct contract should be obtained from the Bureau of Public Procurement before direct procurement can be made.

The report highlighted that a sum of N245.4 million was paid for the supply of equipment and consumables for molecular laboratories using direct procurement without providing relevant supporting documents required by extant regulations for the audit.

Also, citing section 20 of the Public Procurement act 2007 which states that the accounting officer of every procuring entity shall have overall responsibility of planning, organisation of tenders, evaluation of tenders and execution of all procurements and in particular shall be responsible for ensuring that no reduction of values or splitting of procurements is carried out such as to evade the use of the appropriate procurement method.

The report stated that the centre awarded N210.7 million to various contractors in bits in order to circumvent procurement procedures and the approval of the medical director for the supply of surgery medical equipment, obstetrics and gyneacology medical equipment, hematology medical equipment, ENI, dental and general equipment, mama its amongst others.




     

     

    In response, the facility stated that the contracts accumulated to the mentioned sum but not with the intention of circumventing approval threshold.

    Furthermore, N70 million was paid to contractors for fumigation of Gawu Babangida and the main hospital but relevant documents were not provided for scrutiny such as certificate of no objection, fumigation certificates, technical and financial bid evaluation reports amongst others.

    The audit report also identified that the sum of N98.2 million was awarded to ineligible contractors for various supplies and services to the centre without complying to with the conditions stated in the BPP’s ‘No objection certificate’ and relevant documents such as bidding documents, PENCOM compliance certificate, ITF certificate NSITF certificate were not provided for audit.

    In response, the management stated that the companies were pre-qualified by the bureau of public procurement, with the ‘No objection certificate’ attached issued in their favour.

    Other corruptions linked to the medical centre include;

    • Unapproved virement of capital expenditure vote worth N262.9 million.
    • Unapproved payment of N71.6 million (possible diversion of public funds)
    • Unapproved virement of personnel cost  of N155.5 million.
    • Unsubstantiated contracts payment of N77.4 million (possibility of payments for jobs not executed and loss of government funds)
    • Unapproved payments of non regular allowances worth N69.5 million
    • Irregular award and payments to contractors worth N129.6 million
    • Non remittance PAYE of N25 million to relevant tax authorities (possible loss of government revenue and diversion of public funds.
    • Non deduction and remittance of PAYE of N19.1 million to relevant tax authorities.
    • Payment of personnel costs of N28.2 million without pre-payment audit
    • Unsubstantiated award of contract of N15 million (award of contracts to incompetent contractors, payments for jobs not executed and loss of government funds)
    • Unapproved payments of non-regular allowances worth N13.1 million to board members (possible misapplication of funds)
    • Payments of N181.7 million for contracts without supporting documents (payments for work not done and services rendered and possible diversion of public funds)
    • Unsubstantiated award of contract and payments of sum N49.9 million for the contraction of drainage and sewage system.
    • Overpayment of N42.2 million to contractors (inability of government to fund its budget and loss of revenue to government.
    • Non-remittance of 25 per cent amounting to the sum of N5.8 million IGR to the government (difficulty in funding budget)
    • Non-remittance of N10.3 million independent revenue to the federation treasury.
    • Irregular borrowing of N12.2 million from hospital service revolving fund
    • No records for store items worth N28.9 million taken on charge (payments for items not supplied)
    • Mobilisation payment above 15 per cent worth N61.3 million to contractors.

     

    Fatimah Quadri is a Journalist and a Fact-checker at The ICIR. She has written news articles, fact-checks, explainers, and media literacy in an effort to combat information disinformation.
    She can be reached at sunmibola_q on X or [email protected]

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