A Nigerian senator supporting the regulation of social media awarded a multi-million contract without following due process when he was a minister, the anti-graft agency, EFCC, said on Monday.
Abba Moro, the former interior minister, is being prosecuted by the EFCC at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The agency said the interior ministry, then under Mr Moro, did not follow due process in the contract award for the 2014 Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment exercise that claimed the lives of many applicants.
It was reported how Mr Moro last week urged his colleagues in the Senate to support the bill which seeks to regulate the use of social media in Nigeria.
In his contribution during the debate by senators, Mr Moro said lawmakers have in one way or the other been victims on social media.
“I think all of us here have been victims of the spread of falsehoods and the manipulation of the internet has caused a lot of havoc to some of us. And so, I rise to support this bill believing that it will protect the society against unscrupulous elements within our society,” the ex-minister turned senator said.
On Monday, an EFCC witness told a judge about the shady recruitment contract approved by Mr Moro.
Details of Monday’s court session was sent to Journalists by the EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren.
Read Mr Uwujaren’s full mail below.
The trial of former minister of Interior, Abba Moro, continued on Monday, November 25, 2019, before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Abuja, with prosecution witness 12 (PW12), Niyi Adebayo, revealing that the Interior Ministry under Moro and Drexel Tech Nigeria Limited, the fourth defendant, did not follow due process in the contract award for the 2014 Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) job recruitment exercise that claimed the lives of dozens of job applicants.
The witness, an officer of the Economic and Financial Commission, EFCC, under cross-examination by counsel to Drexel Tech Nigeria Limited, S. I. Ameh, revealed that there was a complete lack of due process in the e-recruitment platform contract, which the former minister awarded to Drexel Tech Nigeria Limited.
While identifying the contract documents, tendered as Exhibit AAFD 13, Mr Adebayo said; “the parties for the e-recruitment platform contract were the Ministry of Interior and Drexel Tech Nigeria Limited. The latter was engaged by the ministry for the provision of e-recruitment platform with the draft agreement prepared by one Mrs S. Adebola, a legal adviser in the Ministry of Interior upon which Moro and Drexel Tech Nigeria Limited progressed with the recruitment exercise of March 17, 2013 that subsequently led to the death of scores of job applicants.”
The contract, the witness said, was carried out outside the processes authorised by the Public Procurement Act for procurement of services. The e-recruitment platform, he further revealed, registered over 675,000 applications at the cost of N1000 (One Thousand Naira) per application and that the monies accrued from the excercise were not remitted to the federal government.
According to him, “Clause 3 of the contract states that the contract is at zero cost to the federal government. The item and the amount relating to the operational cost of N83 million were not captured in the document. Interestingly, information on a sharing ratio of 70:30 between the federal government and the contractor was not captured in the document.”
Mr Adebayo further revealed that Drexel Tech Nigeria Limited engaged the services of ‘Pay-for-Me’ to provide content for the e-platform and was paid commission. Other institutions such as banks and NIBPS, he said, were also paid commission pursuant to the immigration recruitment.
The EFCC is prosecuting Mr Moro on an 11-count charge of procurement fraud and money laundering. He is charged alongside former permanent secretary in the ministry, Anastasia Daniel-Nwobia; a deputy director in the ministry, F. O Alayebami; Mahmood Ahmadu (at large), and Drexel Tech Nigeria Limited.
The defence counsel, however, made a no-case submission, to which Justice Dimgba granted it 14 days to file the application and 28 days for the prosecution counsel, Yusuf Aliyu, to file a counter response and adjourned the matter until January, 28, 2020.