How Outgoing Zamfara Governor, Matawalle, Ignored Procurement Guidelines, Awarded N105Million Contract To Company Shortly After Registration
New facts have emerged about how the outgoing government of Zamfara State under Governor Bello Matawalle ignored the state procurement rules and guidelines to award a contract for the renovation of damaged parts of Zurmi Township Roads to Ermano Global Enterprises a few months after the existence of the company in 2020.
Ermano Global Enterprises was established on February 24, 2020, according to information made available on the Corporate Affairs Commission website.
This means that the government awarded the contract to the company the same year it was established which is a breach of the provisions of the state procurement process.
Section 4.2 of the State Procurement Guidelines, which deals with pre-qualification requirements for potential bidders for state projects, considers evidence of incorporation or business name registration, registration with Zamfara State DPPMB for contracts, audited accounts of the business for at least the last financial year, and evidence of tax clearance certificate for three years to be responsive.
In the absence of any, a candidate is automatically disqualified from pre-qualification.
The information about Ermano Global Enterprises as obtained from the Corporate Affairs Commission website showed that the company had not been in operation for a year before the award of the contract, a clear violation of the state procurement law.
Similarly, the law specifies the following requirements for any potential bidder: “Experiences and technical qualifications of key personnel, Similar projects completed and evidence of industry knowledge, Equipment and technology capacity, Annual turnover, VAT registration and evidence of past VAT remittances, Citizenship (Individual/Corporate) of ZAMFARA.”
SaharaReporters reported that A.G. Almajir Multi Dynamic Ltd, a company that was paid N118,281,150.00 to construct a governor’s lodge in the Shinkafi local government area of the state, a project which was left abandoned despite cash-back of the project sum, was also found to be established on March 6, 2018, two years before the award of the multi-million-naira contract.
This implies that the state government awarded the contract to the company even though it was practically impossible for A.G. Almajir Multi Dynamic Ltd to satisfy the requirement stated by Section 4.2 of the State Procurement Guidelines, particularly regarding the provision of evidence of tax clearance certificate for three years.
Likewise, SaharaReporters previously reported that one of the companies granted multi-billion-naira projects by the government for the construction of governor’s lodges across the state’s 14 local government areas was tied to Jamilu Zannah.
During the 2019 general election, Zannah served as Governor Bello’s campaign director. Zannah, a former state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), died in December 2021 after falling ill.
The late Zannah was among the directors of Zannah Kachalla World Link, a company that was paid N118,281,150.00 for the construction of the Governor’s Lodge in the Maradun Local Government Area.
Meanwhile, despite the payment of the said amount, the project had not reached 70% completion.
Investigation revealed that Zannah Kachalla World Link was registered on July 7, 2014, with RC number: 1205042 and has Jamilu Aliyu Zannah, and some of his relatives who were identified as Khadiza Jamilu Zannah, Aliyu Jamilu and Umar Muhammad as its directors.
When SaharaReporters called the Director General of the Zamfara State Bureau of Public Procurement, Maiharaji Altine Gusau, to get his reaction to our findings, he blamed the state Finance and General Purpose Committee (FGPC) for the irregularities in the procurement processes.
He said, “The problem was during FGPC. The body was in charge of awarding of contracts before BPP was established in 2022.”