Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
Eighteen groups, on Thursday, expressed interest to monitor the spending of the last tranche of repatriated $311m funds looted by the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha.
The bids’ opening was conducted by the Bureau of Public Enterprise in collaboration with the Assets Management Unit of the Federal Ministry of Justice in Abuja on Thursday.
A BPE official, Mr Nasir Bello, presided over the exercise which held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Auditorium in the Federal Ministry of Justice in Abuja.
The exercise was observed by journalists and other bodies.
The bids submitted by the rest of the 17 bidders were publicly opened. The 17 included Triump Oil & Gas Nig. Limited, International Action Centre, GPM Associates, Phenai Penal Consults Ltd/Africa in Foundation Infrastructure, CLEEN Foundation, Olotu Lekan F. & Co., Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative, Public and Private Development Centre, and Arewa Community and Social Development Network in Nigeria.
The rest were Quadrante, IBLF Global, PPP Advisories Consortium, Restitution Impact Limited, Urban Project Prospects Integrate Services Limited, Centre for Social Justice, Foundation for Public Private Partnerships Nigeria, and Global Society for Anti-Corruption.
The $311m repatriated to Nigeria from the United States of America and the Bailiwick Island of New Jersey in April this year has already been designated to be spent on three ongoing projects: the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the Abuja-Kano expressway and the Second Niger Bridge.
Part of the terms and conditions contained in the tripartite agreement leading to the repatriation of the fund to Nigeria is that the spending of the funds on the projects must be monitored by non-governmental organisations.
Leading the bid opening, Bello of the BPE, said a technical committee which would evaluate the technical bids would determine which among the 17 bidders had the technical pre-qualification/competence to advance to the next stage of the bidding process.
The next stage is the submission of financial bids by the pre-qualified bidders and participation in the bid opening exercise.
A representative of COREN, Mr Saidu Njidda, questioned why some of the bidders were limited liability companies when it was CSOs that were called upon to bid.
Responding, Bello said the evaluation committee would look at the documents submitted by all the bidders to determine their qualification to participate in the monitoring exercise.