23rd December, 2021
By Wandoo Sombo
The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has said it can justify payment of N434.5 million payment to contractors which was recently queried in the audit report of Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation.
This is contained in a statement by the Spokesperson of the CCT, Atekojo Usman on Thursday in Abuja.
Usman said the tribunal, which had the sole power to adjudicate on conducts of public officers had only its head office in Abuja handling the entire public officers through the federation.
He said the task was overwhelming as there were cases pending for long periods of time, hence the tribunal thought it wise to open offices across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
He said it was based on that, that members of CCT recommended the opening of states offices in Calabar, Enugu, Kaduna and Bauchi states which eventually necessitated construction of office accommodations.
“In line with the public procurement act, the projects were competitively bidded for after calling for expression of interest and bidders emerged through due process before the award of contracts to winners.
It is worth noting that the bidding was conducted in the most transparent manner with the presence of some civil society organisations and media coverage.
“It is gratifying to note that every bit of document involving the 2019 expenditure is available for record purposes including those of payment vouchers, Usman said.
According to him, the CCT is categorically putting on record that the said N434.5 million is for 2018/2019 capital projects and the projects are verifiable in Calabar, Enugu, Kaduna and Bauchi as the projects have been completed and are now being used.
He maintained that the likelihood of diversion of the said capital projects’ fund by the CCT as was being reported was not only mischievous but a figment of the imagination of some elements.
He added that the main aim of the detractors was to flatten the agency in order to sustain their corruption against the country.
“The audit report, the latest in the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation’s (OAuGF) annual series, titled;
“Non-compliance/Internal Control Weakness Issues in Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government for the year ended Dec. 31, 2019” is not the latest exercise that perused the financial transactions of CCT.
“The same auditors from the AuGF’s office have carried out the 2020 exercise and found no financial infraction in the agency, he said.
The CCT spokesman said that the tribunal paid out the sum of N434.5 million to contractors after the projects were satisfactorily executed.
He held that the Justice Danladi Umar-led CCT was currently carrying out reforms that would make the tribunal foremost in discharging its adjudicative responsibility.
Umar noted that the reforms had seen to the provision of the 2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for execution of virtual court proceedings and automation of court system.
He also said that the CCT management had appeared before the Public Accounts Committee of the Senate and that of the House of Representatives on the basis of the audit report by the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation (OAuGF) and defended the said capital expenditure for 2019.