Despite approval letter awarding contracts worth N7.6bn, TETfund makes strong denial

Despite approval letter awarding contracts worth N7.6bn, TETfund makes strong denial

The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) says it did not award N7.6 billion contracts to two companies without due process. The agency awarded

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The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) says it did not award N7.6 billion contracts to two companies without due process.

The agency awarded two contracts to Fides Et Ratio Academy and Pole Global Marketing (PGM) within two months at the cost of N3.8 billion respectively without the approval of the federal executive council (FEC), which is required for the contract size.

The contract was to provide capacity building course and learning management systems to about 2 million students across higher institutions in the country.

In a rejoinder signed by Abdulmumin Oniyangi, TETFund spokesperson, on Tuesday, the agency said it did not make any attempt to award contracts without due process, adding that it is a wrong assumption that the contracts were awarded by the fund.

The agency added that they were not contracts, but ICT projects implemented under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) which does not require competitive biddings in public procurements.

TETFund further stated that its disbursement guidelines are approved by the president on the recommendation of the Fund’s board of trustees.

“The two Projects under reference are not Contracts but are ICT Projects being implemented under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) arrangement with the following two global academies: Anthology USA; owners of Blackboard Inc. which is a leading global educational technology academy providing Blackboard Ultra Learning Management System. Edunet Academy, equally a global learning academy providing certification tracks in communication, entrepreneurship and employability skills development,” the rejoinder reads.

“These organisations are academies and owners of the intellectual property rights for their different products which does not make them open for competitive biddings in public procurements. During implementation, the committee recommended the adoption of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the providers to achieve significant discount based on economies of scale, rather than individual Beneficiary Institutions accessing these facilities at higher costs.

“To this end, the global President of Anthology USA, owner of the Blackboard technology and international leader in educational technology and Artificial Intelligence led a delegation to Nigeria to sign the MoU. Similarly, Prof. Klauss who is a renowned global education resource provider and the intellectual property rights owner of Edunet Solutions Academy led his team to Nigeria to execute the MoU for its Academy. It is pertinent to note that Blackboard technology is used by over 4,000 tertiary institutions globally and during the visit of its President to the Honourable Minister of Education, he remarked that Nigeria is already late in its adoption of Blackboard given that Saudi Arabia adopted Blackboard 10 years ago and this has led to its remarkable success in improving education.

“Therefore, it is instructive to state that the Partnership with the two academies to execute the ICT roadmap of the Fund endorsed by Beneficiary Institutions were not carried out as contracts. Rather, Beneficiary Institutions’ ICT needs were aggregated for bulk negotiation to take advantage of economies of scale. With this, 60% cost saving was achieved.

“For the avoidance of doubt and in total contrast to what was reported in the publication, we wish to affirm that all TETFund Disbursement Guidelines are approved by Mr. President on the recommendation of the Fund’s Board of Trustees and concurrence of the Honourable Minister of Education in line with the TETFund Act 2011.

“We therefore, state unequivocally that at no time did the Fund make any attempt to usurp Mr. President’s powers or that of the Federal Executive Council, or award contracts without due process; as the entire write-up was based on the wrong assumption that contracts were awarded by the Fund.”

In the approval letter issued to one of the companies on May 24, the agency indicated that the “offer” was a contract.

“Please, note that the payment would be made in two installments, 70% of the total sum would be paid upon acceptance of the offer and the outstanding 30% balance payment would be after the successful completion and submission of a detailed report on the training to the Executive Secretary,” the letter signed by Kolapo Okunlola, director of human resources and general administration at TETFund, reads.

“The contract sum is fixed and no variation of the contract sum shall be entertained by the Fund. If the above terms and conditions are acceptable to your company, kindly forward an acceptance letter and your company’s account details for her necessary action. The Fund reserves the right to withdraw this offer with or without prior notice upon your failure to submit a letter of acceptance.”