By: Asu Beks
The Nigerian Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi is being entangled in the web of financial malfeasance for supposedly collecting $604,598.95 from Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, without supporting documents.
A report from the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation took serious exceptions to various expenditure incurred by Hadiza Bala Usman. Managing Director of NPA, for Amaechi without evidence.
Obtained by Shipping World, the audit query decried what it described as ‘curious expenses’ and ordered Usman to refund the said sum into government treasury.
The report covers Audit queries cutting across all units and departments of the agency and massive over-invoicing and flagrant disregard for due process.
The office of the AGuF seeks an explanation stated “It was observed that total expenditure by the Authority increased astronomically by 128 per cent from #87.47 billion in 2016 to #198.98 billion in 2017.
“Of particular concern was the administrative expenses which increased by 72 per cent from #26.126 billion in 2016 to #44.93 billion in 2017. In 2016, #22.16 billion was expended on revenue monitoring, the amount rose to a whopping #106 billion in 2017, an increase of more than 4,689 per cent.
“Similarly, overseas training rose from #20.48 million in 2016 to #470 million, an increase of more than 2194 per cent. While #15.31 million was spent on vessels/craft in 2016, the amount rose to #117.4 million in 2017, an increase of 666 per cent.
“The excessive expenditure of pollution control also attracted the scrutiny of the auditors who insisted that Hadiza Usman must tell Nigerians why and how #4.2 billion was spent in 2017 as against #29 million in 2016, an increase of 14.3 per cent.
“Other over-bloated increase in expenditure include local and foreign medical expenses, legal fees, corporate souvenirs and expenditure on other government agencies which rose from #50.29 million in 2016 to #338.59 million in 2017, a 573 per cent rise.”
The Audit report also raised its yellow flag on an alleged “diversion of #369.71 million through the Nigerian Ports Today” the official in-house magazine of the NPA.
“Payments to Nigerian Ports Today were reviewed to confirm whether they were properly initiated, authorised processed, documented and paid in line with the Public procurement Act 2007,” the report said.
However “Findings revealed the sum of #369,718,130.82 was paid to Nigerian Ports Today, a Limited liability company that is fully owned and controlled by NPA during the period under review.
“There was no evidence of contractual relationship in the form of award of contract to the company nor was there anything to show the company rendered services to the Authority to justify these payments and concludes that the Authority paid the company without a contract and thereby contravening the Public Procurement Act 2007, and that this was viewed as a means to divert public funds,” the report noted.