By Mabel Yakubu
Abuja – A prosecution witness, Babatunde Auye, on Thursday told the Federal High Court, Abuja, that the N2.1 billion media campaign contract awarded to Daar Investment was not in compliance with the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) procedure.
The witness who is a procurement officer was the 6th prosecution witness to testify in the ongoing trial of the former Chairman of Daar Communication Ltd, Raymond Dokpesi.
Led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), Auye said he started working with Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) since June 2010, as the Director of Compliance, Certification and Monitoring.
He said he was the head of the department and their responsibilities were to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Act and also conduct proof review of contract.
Auye further said that for the procurement of goods and services, procurement entities are mandated to place public advertisement to solicit for proposals for the intended goods and services.
He said there is a closing date for the solicitation and on the closing date, the bid will be publicly opened, then the procurement entity will tender an evaluation report.
“The evaluation report primarily consists of the performance of all the leaders and the recommendation for the winning leader.
“The procurement entity will proceed with a request to BPP to issue certificate of `no objection’ and the request comes with all the procurement records, most especially the submission of the recommended winning leader.
“The BPP, as soon as it receives this request, will conduct an independent review of the process based on the document given to us.
“If the BPP is satisfied that there had been substantial compliance with the provision of the goods and services under the Procurement Act 2007, a certificate of no objection is given.
“This certificate of no objection is required as it becomes an instrument which must be available before any payment is made,” he said.
The witness added that in December 2015, the EFCC wrote to BPP saying that they were investigating the request for contract awarded to Daar Investment.
He said that when they searched their records, they found out that Daar Investment was not involved in contract that was brought to BPP or issued certificate of no objection.
He also said that Daar Investment never supplied goods or render services to the Federal Government or feature in any activity that came from BPP.
The witness, however, read the four mandate of N2.1 bn payment for media campaign to Daar Investment Ltd, signed by retired Col. Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser.
Under cross examination by Dokpesi’s counsel, Kanu Agabi (SAN), the witness said the procurement office is in no position to ascertain if the said service were rendered based on report which the defence tendered as evidence.
He said they conducted search based on the request EFCC sent to his office, but subsequently in their investigation they checked their data and found no information concerning Daar Investment.
After the cross examination, the defence counsel informed the court of an application, seeking the release of the defendant’s international passport to enable him travel abroad for medical treatment.
The prosecution did not oppose the application.
The judge, Justice John Tsoho, granted the defence application and ordered the release of the defendant’s passport.
Tsoho adjourned the matter until Oct. 18 and 19 for continuation of trial.
It will be recalled, Dokpesi was arraigned along with his company, Daar Holding and Investment Limited on a six-count charge of money laundering.
He was charged with receiving N2.1 billion from the Office of the former National Security Adviser, for media coverage for the PDP’s Presidential campaigns between October 2014 and March 19, 2015. (NAN)