The Director-General of the Bureau for Public Procurement, Mamman Ahmadu, has said that Julius Berger Nigeria Plc was properly awarded three top priority contracts by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The projects are the 2nd Niger Bridge in the South East, Lagos-Shagamu Expressway in the South-West and 400km Abuja-Kano Road in the North.
The DG who made this position known during the public hearing of the House of Representatives Committee on Works, said the projects followed due process when it was awarded by the government.
The Managing Director of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Lars Richter, had last week appeared before the House of Representatives Committee where he said the company was awarded the contracts.
The House Committee disagreed with Ahmed, insisting that the German company was awarded the contract without bidding as required by law.
However the BPP DG denied any wrongdoing with the awarding of the contract to the company.
The Lagos-Ibadan project was conceived as a public-private partnership, but no performance from the concessioner.
The DG said the project was however rewarded due to poor performance.
The BPP Boss further explained that the Second Niger Bridge, also started as a BPP project, but was not implemented.
He said that it was afterwards converted to a contract financed by the government to be implemented by Julius Berger.
He said, “Abuja-Kaduna-Kano was initiated to open competitive bidding and was later given out too. It was much later because budgetary provisions were not coming regularly and the government took it up to finance.”
The DG was further asked by a committee member, Mark Gbillah, to provide evidence of the open competitive bidding and sought to know the procurement process by which the project was awarded to Julius Berger.
The committee through its member, Bello Kaoje, questioned the rationale behind the BPP awarding roads contract covering over 400 kilometers to a single contractor.
But the BPP DG said the contract awarded to Berger was based on the preference of the communities where the strategic projects were sited.
He said, “Quality is very important, so specification and quality requirements were considered. In fact, at the time this project came, Julius Berger said if they were allowed to do the road that they will ensure road maintenance for 30 years and minimum maintenance for a few years thereafter.”