By Henry Umoru & Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-THE Senate, yesterday, threatened that henceforth, defaulters of its invitations would not be left without arrest, warning that it must be respected along with the House of Representatives.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Works, Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano Central), handed down the threat following failure of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works and the directors of the ministry to attend an investigative public hearing on alleged fraudulent award of contracts in some parts of the country.
The contracts include LOT B2 construction of Mararaba – Mubi-Madagali-Michika Road in Adamawa and Borno states and LOT C3 rehabilitation of the Zaria-Hunkuyi-Kafur-Gidan Mutundaya Road in Kaduna and Kano states.
Gaya said: “Most of the clients are the ministry’s staff and even the petitioners blame the ministry’s staff and none of them is here, not even a representation.”
The Senate had scheduled the investigative hearing following allegation by a lawyer to Coasterners Engineering and Building Services Limited that the process leading to the shortlisting of contractors for the two projects were characterised by fraud, manipulation and open disregard of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007.
Gaya, who was infuriated at the actions of the ministry’s permanent secretary and the directors, resulting in the unexpected postponement of the hearing, slated for the day, insisted that the absentee invitees would not go free in event of repeat of their actions on the yet to be rescheduled date.
He said: “We have shifted the public hearing forward and put a new date, if again, they refused to come, then we will do what is within our powers by signing a warrant of arrest and ask the Inspector-General of Police to produce whoever refuses to come.”