By Suoyo Ekubo
The training contract awarded to Express Concern International (ECN) for Niger Delta ex-agitators in its novel Train, Employ and Mentor (TEM) scheme, has been revoked by the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).
Mr Neotabase Egbe, the Special Adviser, Media to the Interim Administrator, Col. Milland Dikio (retd) said the contract was revoked over breach of the agreement.
Egbe said the termination followed an allegation by a group, Concerned Indigenes of Oil Mineral Producing States Forum (CIOMPSF), that the company diverted funds it received from the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
Revealing that the amnesty office had also activated its internal mechanism to retrieve the money it paid to the firm through a performance bond provided by the company, he added that each job awarded by PAP was secured by a performance bond provided by the benefitting firm that enabled the amnesty office to recover its money in an event of default by a contractor.
“The attention of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) has been drawn to reports that a contractor, Express Concerns International Limited, has diverted money paid to them to train 90 ex-agitators in the agriculture value chain.
“Indeed, the PAP had contracted Express Concerns International Limited to train its beneficiaries. But the contract was terminated via a letter dated June 14th, 2022 because the contractor breached the terms of the agreement.
“Contracts are not awarded to just anybody who submits a proposal, but to serious contractors, who have the capacity to deliver their contractual obligations.
“However, each job awarded by PAP has an insurance bond that ensures the scheme recovers its money in the event of default by contractors. Consequently, the PAP wrote to the guaranteeing firm/insurance company for the recovery of the mobilization fee paid to the company.
“While the management of the PAP acknowledges the interests shown by various stakeholders in the affairs of PAP, let it be known that deliberate measures were put in place to reform contractual processes and block all loopholes that could be capitalized upon to dupe the programme.
“We want to further assure all stakeholders that PAP’s contracts are designed for the benefits of the programme’s beneficiaries and not for the enrichment of any contractor.”