By Solomon Odeniyi
In a bid to ensure transparency and accountability in the process of public procurements across the State of Osun, the government has inaugurated auditors to probe all procurement contracts from 2015 till date.
The team of Auditors comprises of recognized independent procurement auditors who are professionally qualified and would be assisted by public procurement agency staffers.
They (auditors) would look into all public procurement contracts within the stipulated time when the law was enacted.
According to the Acting General Manager, Public Procurement Agency, Mr. Ayo Fatoberu, the government has given a directive that the agency must be able to give a clean slate for all contract that were awarded from 2015 till date.
He added: “Like we have the financial audit which looks into the books and account of agency in order to know if the funds received have been used judiciously, their function essentially is to make sure the law has not been bye-passed. Let us say for instance, the threshold for approval is N10million for an agency; nobody is allowed to split the money in order to circumvent the N10million ceiling”.
He revealed that machinery has been set in motion in accordance with the procurement law, and like the financial auditors, their procurement counterpart would be attached to various agencies, adding that the team is already carrying out this crucial exercise and some of its agents would be visiting the various MDAs in no distant time.
On the reason behind the One day sensitization program, Fatoberu said at the end of the day, his agency would have been able to sensitize the accounting officers, who are the head of each MDAs, as to the provisions, guidelines and the sanctions prescribed by the law in order to guide the conduct of public procurement process in their various agencies.
He added that as the sensitization anchors on transparency, accountability and value for money, the bulk of the works rest on the shoulders of the account officers, who are accountable for the money realised and spent.
The Acting General Manager of the Agency enjoined the various participants to go back to their various agencies and ensure proper dissemination of the provisions of the law and allow it to guide the conduct of their respective officials who are in charge of public procurement.
Also, the Project Coordinator of SLOGOR, Yemi Ijidele enjoined account officers on the need and strive to change the negative narratives about them, especially the perception that, accounting officers help to stash government funds and the expected service delivery often time are not delivered.
He lauded Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola administration for creating an agency for public procurement with highly technical and administrative capacity which has made the state government to be able to boast of a public procurement manual, the establishment of procurement cadre in the civil service. This among others, he said, would regulate public procurement processes and definitely block leakages in the state.
The Head of Service, Mr. Festus Olowogboyega admonished the participants to always follow due process in all they do, so as to avoid procurement cases and the stiff punishment prescribed for defaulters, noting that the whistle blowing policy of the government has shown that there is no hiding place for any nefarious activities by anyone in the country.