Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has inaugurated an 11-member investigative panel to probe all contracts awarded by Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) since 2016 when Hadiza Bala Usman became its Managing Director.
On March 17, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the request of the Federal Ministry of Transportation to investigate the financial account of NPA between 2016 to date.
Usman in her defence of the allegation of non-remittance by the Minister on May 5, insisted that the purported failure of the NPA to remit an outstanding balance of N165.32 billion from 2017 to 2018 was a misrepresentation of facts.
According to her, contrary to the figures given by the budget office as outstanding Operating Surplus(OR), the NPA had remitted all that was due to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CFR) as stipulated in the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari suspended her as the Managing Director of NPA on May 6 and approved the setting up of a panel of inquiry based on Amaechi’s recommendation.
According to underlying facts, the cold battle between Amaechi and Usman led to her suspension as other management of NPA were not affected, which insinuates she’s the target of the investigation.
Usman while serving as the Chief of Staff to Governor Nasir el-Rufai, of Kaduna state, Northern Nigeria was nominated as NPA MD in 2016 by Amaechi.
Amaechi has therefore tasked the members of the panel to accurately examine procurement processes in the NPA from 2016 to date.
The terms of reference of the panel include examining and investigating the administrative policies and strategies adopted by the Managing Director of NPA and confirming compliance with extant laws and rules from 2016 to date.
The Transportation Minister said,
“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.”
The panel, which is headed by the Director of Maritime Services, Transportation Ministry, Auwal Suleiman, has six members from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of The Federation (OHCSF), while the remaining five are from the Ministry of Transportation.