The NPA may be compelled to appear before the Senate panel to answer queries regarding an alleged one billion dollars revenue leak as well as other huge sums unaccounted for
The management of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) has come under fire from the Senate Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for declining invitations to respond to questions on a $1 billion alleged to be missing by the report of the Auditor-General of the Federation (AuGF).
This was disclosed by the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Aliyu Wadada (SDP, Nasarawa West) while speaking to journalists on Tuesday after the committee meeting.
Wadada mentioned that the committee sent multiple invitation letters to the NPA management, requesting their attendance at the hearing on its operations and revenue management of which the management declined to show up.
“There are issues around Lagos Channel management and of course Calabar Channel management and on these issues the committee had respectfully written to the Nigerian Port Authority management, some of the communications were responded to and some as still yet to be responded to.”
Wadada pointed out that the Auditor-General’s report was never an indictment, rather it is in order to make the system better.
He said: “This Committee relies partly, not wholly on the Auditor General on the Federation annual report to discharge its responsibilities. But beyond that, the Committee as well goes on status enquiry where it writes Ministries, Department and Agencies to want to know the status, the respect of the constitutional responsibilities or otherwise of such either the ministry, department or agency in question. And the committee, based on its commitment to the growth and development of Nigeria, is not out to witch haunt anybody.
“This committee under my stewardship, with the support of my distinguished colleagues, have had cause to say this not once, not twice that we should understand that audited report or auditor journals of the Federation’s report is not an indictment on any ministry, department or agency, but it is rather a welcome call for us to know that ABCD were wrongly committed yesterday. Today, going forward, we should find ways to correct the wrongs and then to make the system better and we move on for a better and greater Nigeria.”
Wadada spoke further saying, “at this point, the Committee is today compelled to say what I am going to say on the Nigerian Ports Authority. Nigerian Ports Authority is found wanting on both ends and one on the Audio General for the Federation’s annual report and also on the end of status enquiry.
“Today, the Nigerian Ports Authority is supposed to have appeared before this committee so that we look at the queries raised by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation and Nigeria Post Authority is not here.
“Some of these queries have something to do with the indebtedness of terminal operators, which is almost a billion dollars: eight hundred and fifty-two million dollars, ninety-three thousand, seven hundred and seventy-seven cents.
“There is also outstanding estate rent, shipping dues, and service boats of over 68 million dollars. The status of long-standing debtors is an issue to be answered by the Nigeria Ports Authority. This is not to talk about issues surrounding Lagos channel management and Calabar channel management.”
He however issued a warning to the management of the NPA to appear before the committee in 48 hours as failure to do so will attract necessary sanctions.
“We will communicate finally to the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority within the next 48 hours to either appear before this committee for Nigerians to know what they have in stock as regards to these queries and issues that we have, gathered within the period as a result of status inquiry.
“Otherwise, we will use all the necessary instruments available to us by law to bring the management of Nigerian Post authority to order.”