Anti-graft detectives are probing the alleged N1.45 billion legal and consultancy fees scandal at the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).
The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) called in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Of the cash, N950 million was paid to one of the lawyers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the liquidation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) when the company had ceased to exist. A N500 million consultancy fee went to the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.
The fees were paid contrary to the advice of the immediate past Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), and BPP.
The BPP requested the EFCC to investigate the payment scandal in a June 27 letter to the anti-graft agency.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “We have submitted a letter to the EFCC to look into the circumstances behind the payment of legal and consultancy fees. It is left to the anti-graft agency to interact with those involved.
“We had in a September 22, 2014 letter, told the BPE that Due Process Certificate of ‘No Objection’ cannot be granted to the Bureau of Public Enterprises for the appointment of the legal firm.
”We also drew the attention of the Director-General of BPE to Section 12.30 of the revised Review Report for consideration and necessary action.
“In another letter on December 24, 2014, the BPP advised the BPE against going ahead with the procurement of the legal service for the winding up of PHCN.
“The Legal Advisory Services for the winding up of PHCN was no longer required, based on the advice of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice vides September 11, 2014 letter.
“It was surprising to the BPP that the BPE went ahead to pay about N1billion to a lawyer without following Due Process.”
As at press time, it was gathered that some top officials of the BPE might be invited for interrogation on the curious legal fee.
An EFCC source said the agency has launched an investigation.
“We are going to interact with some officials of the BPE after preliminary investigation has been concluded,” the source said.
The Director-General, Mr. Emeka M. Ezeh, said in a letter that no instruction was received from the AGF nullifying the earlier directive.
The letter said: “The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) having examined the request, wishes to draw the attention of the BPE to Paragraph 14 of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation (HAGF)’s letter to the BPP referenced that “item 1,3,5,6 and 8 of the scope of work for the Legal Advisor unnecessary for the liquidation of the PHCN.
“Similarly, any of the remaining items 2,4,7 and 9, which is not contemplated by the procedure described in Sections 457 -468 (and there is hardly any contemplated) would equally be unnecessary to accomplish the liquidation”.
“ It can be deduced from the above citation that the HAGF’s position on this procurement clearly indicates that Legal Advisory Service is not needed as all constituent items (1-9) under unnecessary as listed by the HAGF constitute all items under the Legal Advisory Service, as such; no item is left for BPP’s consideration for a further review.”


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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