Some stakeholders in the Nigerian ports have petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to investigate the suspended Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala-Usman over the alleged disappearance of over N20 billion under her watch.
In a petition signed by the stakeholders, Comrades Olayiwole Oke, Charles Dike and Musa Yola, and obtained by SaharaReporters, the stakeholders noted that a “mind-boggling N20 billion of NPA’s financial transactions between 2016 and 2018 could not be traced, documented, or explained.”
They urged the agencies to carry out a detailed investigation of the NPA in their petition which they copied to the office of the President, among others.
They said, “The alleged corrupt practices are: awarding Cargo Surveys Contracts to unqualified companies and to self through her brother, Attahiru and acolytes for 10 years; two, Corporate Social Responsibility projects that are supposed to serve as palliatives for communities impacted by port operations were turned into a jamboree and avenue for indiscriminate award of inflated contracts at all locations in contravention of Procurement Laws and Extant Financial Rules and above the MD’s Financial Limits.
“Most contracts in NPA allegedly being awarded to her brother, Alhaji Attahiru, through many phony companies and other fronts.
“Others were misleading the Board into approving promotions for select officers over their seniors through improper placement and promotion in contravention of Federal Government circular referenced FC.6243/S.1/Vol.XV111/5 of 28th May, 2010 and the presidential directive conveyed vide letter referenced PRES/30-1 dated 20th September, 2004.
“The NPA under Hadiza Bala Usman was also accused of 'excessive increase in administrative operational expenses' extra budgetary expenditures on hotel accommodation and under disclosure of expenditures on hotel expenses, Corporate Social Responsibility projects, diversion of funds through the Nigerian Port Today, to the sponsorship of National Assembly programmes, amongst others.
“In 2016, the NPA spent N286,412,628.00 on CSR while in 2017, the figure rose to N2,496,248,775.00 and N5 billion in 2018. The Audit team found out that 'beneficiary needs were not properly assessed or identified before the implementation of CSR projects/ programmes.'”
The stakeholders also alleged that the NPA had been making up numbers in its annual financial reports to the National Assembly—representing billions of dollars’ worth of seemingly nonexistent transactions.
It said, “The fraud works like this, for instance while a contract with Ref. HQ/GM/PROC/CON/C.11/PBT/16/322 dated 16/10/17 was awarded in favour of Messrs Ecomaxx Engineering Projects Ltd for the supply of items to the old people’s Home Yaba, Lagos to the tune of N19,760,460.00 which was paid vide invoice no HQ/CS/0711 dated 01/06/17 there was no documentary evidence that the items were indeed delivered to the Home. In the same vein, the contract for supply of items to Yaba children’s orphanage followed the same pattern.
“Among the laundering tactics uncovered by the Audit Query revealed that whereas in 2016 N22.16 million was expended on revenue monitoring, the amount rose to a whopping N1.06 billion in 2017, an increase of over 4,689%. Similarly, overseas training rose from N20.48 million in 2016 to N470 million, an increase of over 2, 194%.
“Hadiza Bala Usman was asked to refund the said sum into government treasury. In all, at least a mind-boggling N20 billion of NPA’s financial transactions between 2016 and 2018 could not be traced, documented, or explained.”