The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has presented the 12th prosecution witness, Garba Yusuf, against the former Head of Service of the Federation, Stephen Oronsanye, before Justice I.E. Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Yusuf, a retired civil servant and former Deputy Director and Head of Procurement Department while Oronsanye was HoS, testified on Monday as Oronsanye faces trial for N2bn fraud case involving alleged illegal contract awards.
The EFCC, via its online platform, says it is prosecuting Oronsanye along with the managing director, Fredrick Hamilton Global Services Limited, Osarenkhoe Afe, both of whom are alleged to be involved in several illegal contract awards amounting to the said sum during Oronsanye’s tenure as HoS.
While being led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, O. A. Atolagbe, the PW12 stated that his department was responsible for overseeing the execution of various contracts in the Office of the Head of Service and added that there were laid down procedures before a contract was awarded to any contractor.
“Once a request was identified for supply or service, advertisements are made to call in qualified contractors.
“A bid process is carried out to ascertain suitably qualified contractors, who would have scored on technicality and financials.
“After presentations are made and evaluation is done, the responses are forwarded to the HoS for approval.
“After my retirement in 2014, I was approached by the EFCC and questioned in regards to a letter of award for N2bn and I told them that all awards for contracts were done in line of the directives from Bureau of Public Procurement, although the BPP grants the contractors a certificate authenticating the contract and the contractor after a job is completed.
“The BPP also issues out a letter of completion, however, the HoS reserves the right to re-advertise any job that has not been completed,” he stated.
According to him, “in the case of the award letters, which was Prosecution Witness 3 exhibit, the award letters dated July 5, 2010 for contract of data biometrics that was meant for the capturing of pensioners in the 36 states of the federation; the vouchers were raised and payment made to several companies, including N161m paid to Innovative Solutions, a company that bid the contract; adding that the beneficiaries were paid after a schedule of payment had been made.
“I was, however, not aware of the payment for enrolment for biometrics as these contracts were not processed through my office, even though I was still the Director of Procurement as of that time.
“Bearing in mind that all contracts are channeled to the Procurement Department for proper capturing”, PW12 stated.
During cross-examination of the PW12 by the defence counsel, Joe Agi and counsel for Afe and Fredrick Hamilton Global Services, Limited, Oluwole Aladedoye, it was inquired if PW12 was the accounting officer of the project and if he knew that the contract was extended and each extension attracted cost for works and resources.
However, PW12 told the court that he has never seen the award letter and that the Procurement Department follows due processes before tendering a bid and awarding contracts, “so, there was no way, I would not have been in the know”, he stated.
Justice Ekwo adjourned the case till October 22 (today) for continuation of trial.