The ongoing probe by an ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives may spell doom for officials of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) led by Mohammed Bello-Koko.
TheNewsGuru.com (TNG) reports the House of Representatives is probing what it regards as illegal auctioning of federal government properties by the ports authority.
Twice, Bello-Koko, Managing Director of NPA, had snubbed the ad hoc committee investigating the agency’s ridiculous disposal of public property between 2010 and 2022.
However, the NPA Managing Director has been given another opportunity to appear before the committee to provide answers to questions.
How NPA sold 45 million items at N1 each, collected N45m after sales
TNG reports that documents before the ad hoc committee indicated that the NPA sold 45 million items at the Apapa Port, Lagos in 2022 at N1 each, thereby collecting N45 million after the sales.
The NPA also sold 10,800,700 other items at its Apapa Dockyard in 2021 also at the rate of N1 each, netting N10.800 million in the process.
The documents further showed that NPA sold 20 million scrap metals at the Kirikiri Terminal II, Apapa, at N1 each, thereby netting N20 million also.
Overall, the committee of the House of Representatives is quizzing the ports authority over the sale of 16 vessels for N156.24 million in 2019.
At the last sitting of the committee, it became evident that among the vessels were ML Pategi sold at N3.2 million; ML Misau sold at N1.06 million; PB Kabba sold at N5.4 million; SPB 3 sold at N54,000; and PC Shelleng sold at N48,000.
Documents before the House of Representatives committee also showed that NPA sold exotic vehicles like Ranger Pick-Up, Toyota Coaster Buses, Toyota Corolla cars, Toyota Hiace buses, Toyota Camry Salon Cars, among others at cheap prices.
How trouble started for the NPA
TNG recalls the ongoing probe of the NPA follows the adoption of a motion moved by Rep. Oluwole Oke (PDP-Osun).
In the motion, Oke said the procedure for the disposal and auctioning of government assets were well spelt out in Financial Regulations, 2009 and Public Procurement Act 2007, among others.
Oke said the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that all revenues realised from the disposal or auctioning of public property be remitted into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
He alleged that NPA had been auctioning public property not only at a ridiculous price but also without following due process.
He advanced that partial remittance or non-remittance of revenue realised from the auctioning of public property into the consolidated revenue fund was a breach of the constitution.
He expressed concern that if the practice continued, coupled with dwindling crude oil revenue in Nigeria, the government might not be able to cope with the rising demand for accelerated infrastructure.
Following Oke’s submission, the House, thereafter, set up the ad hoc committee to investigate the disposal of public property by the NPA.
Searchlight beams on NPA officials on Monday
At its last sitting, the House of Representatives ad hoc committee adjourned the sitting to September 25 to enable NPA officials to prepare answers to questions posed to them.
Prof Julius Ihonvbere, chairman of the committee directed the NPA officials involved in the ridiculous auction to bring along with them a list of properties slated for auctioning and evaluation reports on the adjourned date.
Ihonvbere said the NPA officials should also present the committee with the names of registered property valuers involved in the transactions.
The officials were also directed to present the valuers’ reports and government approval for the sale of the property from the office of the Bureau of Public Procurement.
The officials were also directed to present Certificates of No Objection to the sales by appropriate government agencies and evidence of remittances of accrued revenue into the Federal Government’s coffers.
Ihonvbere also told the NPA officials to present bidding procedures, newspaper publications, selection and every other document that could assist the committee in its investigation.
TNG reports the investigation, according to the House, would cover the period between 2010 and 2022 with a view to establishing the extent of the alleged illegal auctioning of public property and the non-remittance of revenue realised into the consolidated revenue purse.
The outcome of the ad hoc committee investigation would be reported to the House within four weeks for further legislative action against culpable NPA officials.
TNG reports that Ms Adenrele Susanna Adesina is the Executive Director of Finance and Administration of the NPA.
Reps to resume plenary on Tuesday
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is set to resume from its annual recess on Tuesday to continue the first legislative year of the 10th Assembly.
Dr Yahaha Danzaria, the Clerk of the house, said this in a statement in Abuja on Saturday.
The 10th Assembly proceeded on its annual recess on July 27.
This followed a plenary session during which Speaker Tajudeen Abbas announced the leadership of the standing committees of the house.
Commenting on the resumption, Rep. Akin Rotimi, the Spokesperson of the House and House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, said the 10th Assembly had been prolific.
He said since its inauguration, the house had recorded 470 bills, with all passing first reading, while four passed second reading.
He added that there had been 175 motions considered by the parliament.
He said in spite of the recess, it had continued to function, as various ad hoc committees continued to carry out their crucial mandates.
He said this had generated significant positive public interest.
Rotimi said some of the key early developments expected on resumption was the conclusion of the work of all ad hoc committees and the submission of their reports.
He said this was for the consideration of the House in line with the directive of the speaker.
He said the house would get the final draft of its Legislative Agenda developed by the ad hoc committee, led by the Majority Leader, Rep. Julius Inhonvbere.
He said it would be considered and adopted by the house, adding that the draft agenda was developed following extensive consultations with critical stakeholders.
He also said that the membership of the standing committees would be announced and fully constituted.