Members of the House of Representatives investigative panel on the multi-billion naira insurance fraud in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) between 2013 and this year, were shocked when the acting Director-General (DG) of the Bureau of Public Enterprise ( BPE ), Vincent Akpotaire, said he was not aware of an investigation of his organisation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over insurance related matters.
The panel was also shocked when Akpotaire said BPE found it convenient to breach the Pubic Procurement Act on Insurance matters.
The Hon Adekunle Akinlade-led ad hoc Committee investigating the insurance fraud, described Akpotaire’s response as irresponsible, if as the acting chief executive officer of an organisation, he could claim, under oath that he was not aware of the EFCC investigation.
At the continuation of the investigative hearing, the Committee had asked the acting DG to justify the selection of just a number of insurance and brokerage firms by BPE for its insurance policies over the years to the exclusion of others.
In addition, the DG was also asked why a single company was selected as lead underwriter and lead broker as contained in the documents BPE submitted to the Committee, in addition to several missing details.
In his response, Akpotaire said the BPE last carried out advertisement for insurance in 2009 and has been carrying out its insurance till date.
He said BPE has not contravened any law by not advertising for insurance covers since 2009 because the cost of the advert was more than the cost of the insurance during the period under review.
He also said successful bidders were picked from a pool of firms that met the set criteria and after due diligence was done on their status.
After being told by the Committee that it was an act of illegality to carry out insurance policies without due process, Akpotaire said he can not confirm such claim by the Committee.
He said: “As I sit here, I cannot confirm that we breached the Procurement Act because for the year under review, we cannot even afford to pay for group life, so there is no way we can advertise.”
He however said the selection was competitive as successful firms were picked from a pool whose status were confirmed by the Nigerian Insurance Commission (NAICOM).
At a point, the committee chairman asked if the organisation was being investigated for insurance related matters and the acting DG said he was not aware.