Amaechi asks panel to probe all contracts awarded by NPA under Bala Usman

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Against the backdrop of financial misdeeds allegedly perpetrated by suspended Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on Monday inaugurated an investigative panel to probe the books of the agency.

The Chairman of the 11-man committee is Auwalu Suleiman, the Director of Maritime Services and it is co-chaired by Ben Omogo, Director, Organisation Design & Development, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.

Amaechi, while inaugurating the panel of enquiry, tasked the members to be honest and thorough in their investigation.

The terms and references of the committee include: “Examine and investigate the administrative policies and strategies adopted by the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority and confirm compliance with extant laws and rules from 2016 to date.

“Examine and investigate issues leading to the termination of pilotage and other contracts of Nigerian Ports Authority and confirm compliance with the terms of the respective contracts, court rulings and Presidential directives.

“Examine and investigate compliance with the communication channel as obtained in the Public Service.

“Examine and investigate the procurement of contracts from 2016 to date. Come up with suggestions and advice that would strengthen the operations of Nigerian Ports Authority and forestall such occurrences in future.

“And any other matter that may be necessary in the course of the assignment.”

President Muhammadu Buhari had last week suspended Bala-Usman following allegations of non-remittance of N165 billion surplus revenue to the coffers of government.

According to a release by the President’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, President Buhari approved the recommendation of the Ministry of Transportation for the setting up of an Administrative Panel of Inquiry to investigate the Management of NPA.

“The President has also approved that the Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman, to step aside while the investigation is carried out. Mr Mohammed Koko will act in that position. The panel is to be headed by the Director, Maritime Services of the Ministry while the Deputy Director, Legal of the same ministry will serve as Secretary. Other members of the panel will be appointed by the Minister,” Shehu had said in the release.

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