ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
Officials of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) are in Bayelsa State to investigate alleged fraudulent procurement practices in the award of contracts for the constituency and executive projects in the state.
The anti-corruption agency is carrying out the investigation in partnership with the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS).
It was gathered that Bayelsa is among 17 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where the ICPC is tracking the contracts budgeted for in the appropriation laws of 2019, 2020 and 2021.
FirstNews learnt on Wednesday that the investigation would cover 1,024 constituencies and 227 executive projects in agriculture, education, power, health and water resources, among other sectors.
The first phase, which was carried out in 2019 in 12 states and the FCT, resulted in the tracking of 524 projects while the second phase in 2020 tracked 822 projects in 16 states.
It was also gathered that the exercise would last between eight and 10 days and the ICPC officials led by Mr Livinus Idor, would visit project sites in the five Federal Constituencies and three Senatorial Districts of the state: Bayelsa Central, Bayelsa East and Bayelsa West.
The commission’s investigators, who arrived in Bayelsa on Monday, were said to have visited 16 solar-powered borehole water projects executed in some communities in the Yenagoa/Kolokuma/Opokuma Federal Constituency of Bayelsa Central.
They were said to have also tracked security infrastructure projects at Federal Government Girls’ College, Imiringi, in the Ogbia Federal Constituency of Bayelsa East, among other contracts.
One of the commission’s investigators, who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the project tracking, said the team would not leave any stone unturned in the exercise.
The investigator said: “We have over 50 files of projects covering all the sectors that we will track in Bayelsa.
“The essence is that ICPC wants to ensure that contracts awarded and captured in the appropriation laws of 2019, 2020 and 2021 are carried out according to specifications and quality. Not only that, we want to see how functional they are.”