Reports from investigations conducted by the House of Representatives sub-committee on Public Procurement has indicted Total Upstream of Nigeria (TUPIN) of breaching due process in the award of a $43 million contract.
The committee, in its findings, also accused TUPIN of inflating the $43 million contract sum submitted by Messrs Tilone Nigeria Limited by $10.9 million, with a view to disqualifying the company from the bid process conducted on June 13, 2006.
Mathew Omegara, chairman of the sub-committee on public procurement, gave the hint while providing an update on the contract award scandal.
Omegara, who frowned at the development, noted that TUPIN awarded the contract to a Swizz company, Oceaneering Incorporated before the bid exercise was concluded, which is at variance with the approval given by the board of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
“Despite the emergence of Tilone as the winner of the bid, TUPNI failed to Implement the NNPC board directive, which gave approval that the contract consisting of four ROVs be awarded to Tilone.
Instead of implementing the NNPC board directive stated above, TUPNI engaged the services of a foreign firm known as Oceaneering International AG, which is a sister company to Oceaneering International.
“TUPNI claimed that Tilone was not the least bidder, having falsified the bid figures submitted by Tilone by adding various sums totalling $10.975 million to her bid $43 million,” he said. The lawmaker noted that the award of the contract contravened the laws of the country and the local content initiative of the Federal Government, which is aimed at developing the capacity of indigenous companies in the oil and gas sector.
He said “TUPIN had the attitude of neglecting any call up to attend meetings when called by the constituted authority and discovered that Total Upstream Nigeria Limited in fond of the habit of flouting the Nigerian law, the company has no regard for Nigerian law and Nigerians.
“You can see a deliberate act by the multinational companies of depriving Nigerian firms of getting what belongs to them. If Nigerians submit bids, they can go as far as raising the bid with a view to disqualifying the Nigerian companies. This act is not only criminal but also irresponsible,” he insisted.
In its recommendation, the sub-committee directed the management of TUPNI to reverse the contract and re-award it to Tilone as approved by NNPC, even as it vowed to ensure compliance.