$470m CCTV contract award by Police Ministry didn’t follow due process – BPP
The Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, yesterday said that the award on $470 million by the late President Musa Yar’Adua administration for the procurement and installation of Close Circuit Television, CCTV, in Lagos and Abuja did not pass through due process.
Director General of BPP, Emeka Ezeh disclosed this at the investigative hearing by the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee set up by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara to unravel the circumstances of the award of the contract for the installation of CCTV cameras in Lagos and Abuja and the failure of ZTE Corporation to complete the contract.
The BPP Director-General further told the Rep Ahmed Yerima-led committee that his office did not issue certificate of no objection in the award.
But the former DG of NigComSat, Ahmed Rufa’i said that the award of the contract was through presidential approval and that it was not all issues especially those that have to do with the security of the country that should pass through the BPP due to its implications.
Rufa’i said there was no problem with the award of the project which he said was completed but that the government did not provide money for the operational cost for it to function, adding that it is in the procurement act that the president has discretional powers to approve procurement without going through the BPP.
However, Chinese telecom giant, ZTE in its submission denied any wrong doing in the execution of the National Public Security Communication System, NPSCS project.
The ZTE Nigeria Managing Director, Mr. Had Fuqiang said it completed and delivered what it described as one of the world’s best Video Surveillance System, VSS to the Federal Government.
Fuqiang said “contrary to public perception, the project was not to merely installed cameras but one conceived to deploy comprehensive, reliable, modern and robust National Public Security Communications System (NPSCS). The NPSCS project is made up of five components or subsystems.”
Earlier Managing Director of BPP, Mr. Ezeh in his submission said BPP did not recognize the existence of any contract for the installation of CCTV cameras in Lagos and Abuja by the Ministry of Police Affairs.
According to him, “The contract for the installation of CCTV Cameras in Abuja and Lagos under the National Public Security Communication System project was not processed at the Bureau of Public Procurement prior to award. In other words, the project was not issued a due process certificate of no objection by the BPP.
“Considering the purported cost of contract in the sum of US$470 million, the contract ought to have been accompanied with a certificate of no objection issued by the BPP.
“This is supported by Section 16(1) (b) of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 and SGF circular Ref N0 SGF/OP/1/V11/57 of 11th March, 2009, on ‘Implementation of Approved Revised Thresholds for Service Wide Application and Special Application to the Federal Ministry of Petroleum for expenditure related to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, procurement methods and thresholds of application and the composition of tenders boards.
“Without a due process, certificate of no objection, all payments made in respect of this project are illegal and the contract is null and void. These positions are supported by Sections 16(2) and (4) of the Public a Procurement Act, 2007 respectively.
“The Bureau does not possess any information or documentation regarding this project considering that it was neither reviewed nor certified by the Bureau.”
But the Managing Director of ZTE said that the NPSCS project was made up of five components or subsystems.
The five components he disclosed include the Global Open Trunking Archetecture, GoTa, Sub-system which is the dominant component of the system.
“It is a CDMA based Voice and data Telecommunications system with National coverage. It operates through 2Nos Mobile Switch Centre (MSC) with one each in Lagos and Abuja, 12Nos Base Station Controller (BSC), 675 Base Transceiver Station (BTS) and 21 Microwave repeaters. The GoTa system supports the deployment of 1.5 million subscriber lines.”
He said the Video Surveillance Subsystem another component comprises of 2000 surveillance cameras with a thousand each installed in Abuja and Lagos respectively.
He said, “This is the easily noticed component of the project. The application of solar solutions in this subsystem was informed by the electricity power challenges in the country and the need to ensure sustained operations of the cameras wherever they are installed. This component is only about 12 per cent of the total package of the project.”
Other components were the Video Conferencing subsystem that provides a platform for real time video conferencing for the Nigeria Police Force across all commands and the Force Headquarter, the e-policing subsystem that facilitates the deployment of e-policing databases.
He said that there was the Coalition Emergency Response subsystem Which he said is a platform for national emergency communication using the short code of 911 for emergency and /distress calls and 912 for anonymous security information. It also empowers the security agencies to carry out coordinated response.
The ZTE boss explained that the GoTA technology deployed in the NPSCS project has grown to be the global leader in specialised digital truncking standards. It has been deployed in over 40 countries including Norway, Poland , Russia, Ghana, Morocco, Czech Republic and China among others.
While insisting that ZTE completed the execution of the project and that Acceptance Certificates (PAC) issued by the Federal Government,meh said it was an indication that the project was successfully completed and functioning, he said any perception that the NSPC project was not working was unfounded.
Hao disclosed that the GoTa system was used by the Police and the Presidential security on several occasions: “These include the inauguration event of President Goodluck Jonathan first term, the World Economic Forum (WEF) held in Abuja and other events hosted at the Eagles Square Abuja.
“The VSS was also successfully used by the Nigerian Police on some instances such as; Abuja Airport Incident involving theft US$1million. Tracking and arresting of drug dealers in Oshodi, Lagos. Capturing the Lagos Airport robbery.”
He lamented that since the completion of the project in 2012, “the network has been shut down for upwards of about two years now due to absence of take-off funds to power the network for effective operations and conduct the final tests and then final hand over of the network.”
The ZTE MD stressed the need for the government to come up with “sustainable operation and maintenance program” for the project , saying its effective usage will enhance the efficiency of the nation’s security agencies.
The former MD of NigComSat, Rufa’i said, “It is not operational because as at 2012 December when the project was completed by the contractor and handed over the Nigcomsat to start the operational segment of the project, we were handicapped with funds.
“And I had made several representations, I had made several appeals, letters upon letters to the then minister of police Affairs and I also made passionate plea to the president as at that time to release the needed funds to operationalise the project but the funds were never released so much so that the contractor, Zte was pleaded with in order not to shutting down the MSEs, that is the core network.
“We had to plead with the contractor to operate the network on their own cost for six months. What we have in the communication facilities in the network is superior to what Visafone has. It is far far superior. The public is just looking at the video surveillance system.
“It is far more than the CCTV. It is just 8.5 percent of the total project. We have the collation emergency management system, we have the global open trunking which took about 48 percent of the total project with is about $20 million. That is the heart of the project.
“Then we have the emergency response system, the e-police and video conferencing system. All the police headquarters in the country is fitted with the video conferencing system that is there under lock and key.
“The singular reason why it is not operational is was because operational funds were not provided. I mean funds to fuel all the towers. We have 700 BTS towers nationwide. Money was not provided to fuel it. How will it work? It is like you bought a new car and there is no fuel, how will the car work?
“Initially, the total budget we presented was about N11 billion. It was roughly about a billion naira per month. I am aware that after I left, the budget was reviewed down to about N5 billion because we are talking of money for fuel, security of all the facilities, insurance of all the facilities, and some peripherals like handsets that were supposed to be bought.
“As I am talking to you now, this project has about 60,000 specialised handsets , a multi media global trunken open handset that are under lock and key at Nigcomsat. It is there. What was the project cost, averagely $250, less than N50,000. So these are the issue. The issue was the operational fund and I can tell you that if it is provided today, I can tell you that the network would be revived.
“Over 150 engineers were trained in China on this project. About 60 percent of them even from the police force and all over the military, the civil defence, the prison, the immigration. They were all trained. And the contractors, ZTE were supposed to be side by side with them. We had an agreement with them to intervene in the event our engineers cannot cope.”
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