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Senate Probes Alleged $3b Fraud, Financial Waste at NPA

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Senate Committee on Marine Transport has been given four weeks in investigate the allegation of “monumental recklessness and financial waste” at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

The agency is under the leadership of activist, Hadiza Bala Usman, who is the Managing Director of the NPA.

At the plenary on Wednesday, Senator Omo Ovie Agege cited orders 42 and 52, appealing to the Senate, through the Committee on Marine Transport, to move quickly to the stop alleged monumental recklessness and financial waste in the Nigerian Ports Authority.

The lawmaker said the alleged fraud was carried out through series of contracts awarded to different companies in 2005 purportedly to dredge the Calabar channels in Cross River State. He said till now, the project was yet to be carried.

According to Senator Agege, “In continuation of NPA’s manifestly questionable and reckless financial commitments, Lagos Channel Management (LCM) Limited and the BCM, through the NPA, have respectively requested for the sums of N23 billion and N20 billion in the NPA’s 2017 budget.”

He said further that, “Although these joint ventures were supposed public-private partnerships (PPP) conceived to reduce financial burdens on the Federal Government, the NPA has expended over $1 billion and $2 billion respectively on LCM and Bonny Channel Company (BCC) Limited from 2005 till date, but significant dredging is yet to commence on the Calabar channel notwithstanding that it is an economic gateway to the North Central and North East geo-political zones of the country.”

He said records from the LCM, BCC Limited, and the Calabar Channel Management Company (CCMC) Limited, which are into joint venture with the NPC revealed the alleged fraud.

“In spite of the so far unjustified huge financial commitment of the NPA to these supposed PPP joint ventures, empirical facts, evidence and data, including current Admiralty Charts from Lloyds of London clearly confirm that the depth profiles of the channels, particularly the Lagos and Bonny channels, remained significantly the same at 13 meters between 2005 and 2016, notwithstanding the purported claims of daily maintenance dredging of the channels by the JVs – a curious situation which must be looked into no matter any form of siltation,” the Senator said.

Senate President Mr Bukola Saraki, while commenting on the issue, said “these were the issues we will be bringing out from agencies so as to fight and protect the interest and rights of our people.”

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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