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BPE, SERAP on collision course over corruption allegations

From Uche Usim, Abuja

The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) are currently on a collision course over allegations of corruption and the call for investigation.
SERAP was called on President Muhammadu Buhari to revisit the allegations of corruption made against the privatisation agency by the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Investigation of the Privatisation and Commercialisation Activities of the BPE from 1999 to 2011.
BPE on its part said it was wrong for SERAP to unearth a six-year report and attempt to give it the air of infallibility.
BPE spokesman, Chukwuma Nwokoh, however, said the bureau would address issues raised in the report again just as it did six years ago when the report was first published.
“We again reject the conclusions of the report, which may have been aimed at tainting the activities of the reform agency. On the issue of monitoring privatised entities, the BPE has routinely monitored the performance of privatised enterprises through its Post Privatisation Monitoring Department.
“The present monitoring framework was established in late 2006 and monitoring activities effectively took off in 2007. In establishing the monitoring framework, BPE consulted widely and benefited from the expertise of a consultant provided by the Department for International Development (DFID), UK, under its support to the privatisation programme.
“The agency has moved further in its post-privatisation activities and strengthened its processes. BPE’s lock-in period has been strengthened such that, even at its expiry, a core investor that has not fulfilled its post-acquisition plan is not discharged from the mandatory monitoring programme. This development debunks the claims on post-privatisation by SERAP,” he said.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari administration, on April 13, 2017, appointed a new Director General of BPE, Mr. Alex A. Okoh, with the mandate to address the challenges in the privatisation programme.

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