Senate yesterday asked its Committee on Marine Transport to investigate anallegation of $3billion fraud against the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
It followed a point of order by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, representing Delta Central.
Omo-Agege said the alleged fraud was in connection with the activities of the Joint Venture Enterprises of the NPA, namely, the Lagos Channel Management, the Bonny Channel Company, and the Calabar Channel Management Company Limited.
He noted that both the Lagos Channel Management and the Bonny Channel Company were established in August 2005 for the management and routine maintenance dredging of Lagos and Bonny navigation channels. The Calabar Channel Management Company Limited, according to him, was established for the management and capital dredging of the Calabar channel.
Omo-Agege said although the aforementioned companies were conceived to operate a public-private partnership (PPP) model and to reduce financial burden on the Federal Government, the NPA has expended over$1billion and $2billion on the Lagos Channel Management and the Bonny Channel Company from 2005 till date.
He noted that despite the huge expenditure, significant dredging is yet to commence on the Calabar channel, notwithstanding that the Calabar channel is an economic gateway to the Northcentral and Northeast geo-political zones.
He stated that in spite of the financial commitments of the NPA to some of its joint ventures, empirical facts, evidence and data – including current Admiralty Charts from Lloyds of London – show that the purported claims of daily maintenance dredging are questionable.
He added: “This is because the depth profiles of the Lagos and Bonny channels have remained at the same height of 13 meters for over 11 years.
”Furthermore, in the 2017 Budget of the NPA, the Lagos Channel Management and the Bonny Channel Company have requested for N23 billion and N20 billion respectively.”
Following Omo-Agege’s submissions, the Senate mandated its Committee on Marine Transport to investigate the dredging activities, books, and NPA’s records; the Lagos Channel Management Limited; the Bonny Channel Company Limited; and the Calabar Channel Management Company Limited.
Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki gave the Marine Transport Committee one week to report back to plenary.