By Asu Beks
The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, has been ordered to refund a whopping #5.18 billion to the Federal Government’s coffers over what is seen as “being the value of inflated amounts under her watch.”
A report by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation came on hard on the NPA’s Managing Director on gross “betrayal of public trust” as demonstrated by her flagrant abuse for due process in the way and manner she runs the agency.
Usman was appointed as the first female Managing Director on July 14, 2016 but she resumed duty on July 18, 2016, pledging on assumption of duty “To make NPA a model public organization with transparency as her watchwords.”
However, the audit report which uncovered activities of the agency from 2016 to 2018 expressed shock that under her leadership, there was no evidence of compliance with the Public Procurement Act and that most of the CSR projects/programmes were inflated.
According to the report obtained by Shipping World, “the Audit team reviewed the Authority’s policy on implementation of CSR Projects/Programmes and discovered that records relating to CSR fell short of the level of compliance with the Public Procurement Act 2007.
“In 2016, the NPA spent #286,412,628.00 on CSR while in 2017, the figure rose to #2,496,248,775 and #5 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 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 Ports Today, sponsorship of National Assembly Programmes, amongst others.
“The queries which covered over 100 issues, also asked Hadiza Bala Usman to make various refunds to government, especially in instances where such expenditures could not be justified.”
Her refusal to remit Value Added Tax-VAT deductions running into billions of naira and in foreign currency denomination to the Federal Inland Revenue Service- FIRS, was also captured in the damning report.
For instance, the query highlighted un-remitted deduction to FIRS to include #3,667,750,470. $148,845,745.04, Euro 4,891,449.50 and £252,682.14.
The committee also observed that delivery of CSR items were not accompanied with delivery letters and that in most cases, there was no evidence of actual items delivered and who signed for them.
“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 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. For instance, whilst a contract awarded in favour of Trans-secure Ltd was #19,467,000.00 the survey conducted by the audit team found out that #6,520,500.00 was the actual market price,” the report alleged.