FOI: PHCN Responds to Coalition’s Request for Contract Details

The Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) has responded to a request made to it 10 weeks ago by the Nigerian Contract Monitoring Coalition asking it for detailed records and information about a World Bank-supported contract for the supply and installation of High Voltage Distribution systems in Abuja, Lagos and Ibadan.

PHCN provided some of the records and information demanded by the coalition after receiving service of an order issued by Justice A.F.A. Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja granting the coalition leave to apply for an order of mandamus to compel the electricity company to disclose details of the contract.

Justice Ademola granted the Coalition leave following a suit instituted on September 21, 2012 on its behalf by one of its members, the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), which is the National Convenor of the Coalition monitoring the award and implementation of the contract for the Federal Government project funded with a credit facility obtained from the World Bank.

The contract, tagged Bid No. NGP-D2, is for the supply of 300 units of 11 KV, 500A On-Load Sectionalizers for installation at the High Voltage Distribution System (HVDS) networks at Karu in Abuja; at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), in Ogba and in Agege, all in Lagos as well as Challenge in Ibadan.

After the PHCN was served with the court order granting the coalition leave, it provided some of the contract records and documents requested by the coalition under cover of a letter signed by PHCN’s General Manager, Engr. G.A Ciroma.

In the letter, PHCN said it was providing the coalition with the following documents:

  • The procurement plan for the Nigerian Electricity and Gas Project
  • Documentation on design and specification of the project
  • The issued bidding documents also containing the scope of the procurement and the contract sum, conditions of the contract and payment terms and schedule
  • A list of all the contractors that submitted bids
  • A web link to the needs assessment as contained in the Project appraisal document
  • An approval of award in the form of “no-objection” issued by the task team leader
  • An online publication of the award of contract
  • The name and addresses of the distribution companies on whose behalf the procurement was carried out

Engr. Ciroma however said in the letter that PHCN was unable to grant the coalition’s request for the bid evaluation report and the award of contract document, along with the other records and documents.

Citing Section 15(a) and (b) of the Freedom of Information Act, Engr. Ciroma, said: “a copy of the bid evaluation could not be included as this will conflict with S15a and b of the Freedom of Information Act 2011 as regards third parties”.

The PHCN boss stated that “a final contract award document could not be attached as a third party is involved”.

Engr. Dayo Olugboye, of the Nigerian Society of Engineers has confirmed that the documents provided by PHCN have been forwarded to the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), which has set up a committee to evaluate the documents.

Meanwhile, further hearing in the suit comes up at the Federal High Court in Abuja on November 20, 2012.

The Nigerian Contract Monitoring Coalition is a division of the West African Contract Monitoring Coalition which is being regionally coordinated by the Ghana Anti-Corruption Commission (GACC), and is implementing a project titled “Multi-stakeholder Engagement for Effective Public Procurement Process in Nigeria.

Besides the PPDC, other members of the coalition include the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Media Rights Agenda (MRA), the Centre for Organizational and Professional Ethics (COPE-AFRICA) and the Initiative for Environmental and Health Society (IEHS).