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FG Probes Contracts Awarded By Suspended NPA MD

Ebuka Daniel

The Federal Government has inaugurated a panel to probe contracts and alleged non-remittance of operating surplus by the suspended Nigerian Ports Authority Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman.

Nigeria’s Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi,who inaugurated the committee on Monday appointed the Director of Maritime Services, Auwalu Suleiman, as chairman.

The panel is Co-Chaired by the Director, Organisation Design and Development, Ben Omogo.

The committee has 11 members with six from the Office of the Head of Civil Service of Nigeria and five from the Transport Ministry.

The eleven-member committee is expected to “Examine and investigate the administrative policies and strategies adopted by the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority and confirm compliance with extant laws and rules from 2016 to date.

It also expected to “Examine and investigate issues leading to the termination of pilotage and other contracts of Nigerian Ports Authority and confirm compliance with the terms of the respective contracts, court rulings and Presidential directives.

“Examine and investigate compliance with the communication channel as obtained in the Public Service.

“Examine and investigate the procurement of contracts from 2016 to date. Come up with suggestions and advice that would strengthen the operations of Nigerian Ports Authority and forestall such occurrences in future.”

Usman was suspended last Thursday as part of moves to allow independent audit of the accounts and remittance of the agency.

According to details of a letter sent to President Muhammadu Buhari by Nigeria’s Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, the yearly remittance of operating surpluses by the NPA from 2016 to 2020 was “far short of the amount due for actual remittance.”

In the letter, dated March 4, 2021, Amaechi said within the stipulated years, the NPA recorded an outstanding unremitted balance of N165.32bn and suggested that the financial account of the NPA be investigated and audited.

But in her defence, she said within a four year period covering 2017 and 2020, the NPA remitted the sum of N159.11bn into the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account of the Federal Government.

The remittances were confirmed by Usman in a letter to the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari dated May 5, 2021.

The letter referenced MD/27/MF/VOL. XX/541 was titled: “Re: Request for the record of remittance of operating surpluses to the consolidated revenue funds account, CFR by the NPA.”

While her letter was dated May 5, 2021, the announcement suspending her from office by the Presidency was made on May 6, 2021.

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