GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS (PROTECTION) ACT, 1979 (A.F.R.C.D. 58)

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS (PROTECTION) ACT, 1979 (A.F.R.C.D. 58)

DATE OF ISSUE: 14th September, 1979.

DATE OF GAZETTE NOTIFICATION:22nd September, 1979.

AN ACT to regulate the issue of certificates in respect of Government contracts and to provide for related matters.

1. Penalty for issuing false certificate

(1) A person who is responsible for the issue of a certificate on the basis of which money is paid out of public funds to or for the benefit of a contractor or any other person in respect of a Government contract, is jointly and severally liable with that contractor or any other person for the refund of the money so paid, to the Government, the statutory corporation or any other agent of the Government by or on behalf of which the money was paid or to any other authority directed in writing by the Government.

(2) Subsection (1) applies

(a) where the person responsible for the issue of the certificate issued the certificate for the payment

(i) knowing that the work or service for which the payment was made or the goods for the supply of which the payment was made has not been performed or have not been supplied or that the money was not otherwise due under the contract, or

(ii) recklessly careless, whether the work had been done or not or the goods supplied or not, or whether the money was otherwise due under the contract or not; or

(b) where in the issue of the certificate that person was grossly negligent.

2. Criminal penalties

(1) Without prejudice to the civil liability created by section 1, a person whose conduct falls within that section and the contractor and any other person who knowingly accepts a payment made in any of the circumstances described in that section commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding three times the amount of money of the improper payment or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding ten years, or to both the fine and the imprisonment.

(2) Where in the case of a payment effected in any of the circumstances described in section 1 it is proved

(a) that the person responsible for the certificate was bribed into issuing the certificate, or

(b) that the issue of the certificate was otherwise attended by a corrupt practice,both the person who gave the bribe and the person who accepted it and any other person who knowingly participated in the bribery or the corrupt practice commits an offence and is liable

(c) to a term of imprisonment not less than five years and not more than fifteen years, and

(d) to a penalty equal to three times the amount of money of the improper payment

3. Withholding payments under certain contracts

Despite anything to the contrary in a contract, where the Government is satisfied that in respect of a Government contract the Government or a statutory corporation or any other Government agency has made to or for the benefit of a contractor or any other person

(a) an overpayment, or

(b) an improper payment or a payment for which there has not been a consideration,the Government shall withhold or direct the statutory corporation or that other agency of Government to withhold to the extent of the overpayment, improper payment or any other payment, the moneys payable under a certificate to that contractor or that other person under a Government contract.

4. Failure to comply with decisions or directions

A person who knowingly fails to comply with a decision of the Government or direction under section 3 commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years, and to a penalty equal to three times the overpayment, the improper payment or the payment for which there was no consideration.

5. Offences by bodies of persons

(1) Where an offence under this Act is committed by a body of persons,

(a) in the case of a body corporate, a director or secretary of the body corporate shall deemed to have committed that offence, and

(b) in the case of a partnership, a partner shall be deemed to have committed that offence.

(2) A person shall not be convicted of an offence under subsection (1) if it is proved that the offence was committed without the knowledge or connivance of, and that due diligence was exercised by, that person to prevent the commission of that offence having regard to the circumstances.

6. Interpretation

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,

“Government contract” means a contract entered into by the Government or a statutory corporation or any other agency of the Government for the performance of a work or service for the supply of goods to the Government or the statutory corporation or the agency of the Government.

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