NPA Probe: El-Rufai leads others to lobby Presidency for soft-landing over Hadiza Usman’s probe

Powerful Nothern political forces with the Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, as the arrow head, have commenced underground moves to save the embattled Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms. Hadiza Usman.

Usman was suspended last week as part of moves to allow independent audit of the accounts and remittance of the agency.

Governor El-Rufai is however making franking efforts lobbying the Presidency to rescue and secure soft-landing for Usman who is his political daughter,

According to details of a letter sent to President Muhammadu Buhari by Nigeria’s transport minister, Rotimi Amaechi, the yearly remittance of operating surpluses by the NPA from 2016 to 2020 was “far short of the amount due for actual remittance.”

In the letter, dated March 4, 2021, Mr Amaechi said within the stipulated years, the NPA recorded an outstanding unremitted balance of N165 billion (N165, 320, 962, 697).

The memo entitled: “Remittance of operating surplus to the consolidated revenue fund account (CRF) by the Nigerian Ports Authority from 2016 –date,” elaborates on the revenue shortfall in NPA.

“It has been observed from the records submitted by the Budget Office of the Federation that the yearly remittance of operating surpluses by the Nigerian Ports Authority from the year 2016 to 2020 has been far short of the amount due for actual remittance (see the tables attached),” the Minister said.

“In view of the above, I wish to suggest that the financial account of the activities of Nigeria Ports Authority be investigated for the period to 2020 to ascertain the true financial position and the outstanding unremitted balance of one hundred and sixty-five billion, three hundred and twenty million, nine hundred and sixty-two thousand, six hundred and ninety seven naira only (N165,320,962,697).”

He asked the President to “approve that the account and remittance of NPA in the period of 2016-2020 be audited to account for the gross shortfall of remitted public funds.”

In response to the letter, the President on the 17th of March wrote on the letter: “Your above prayer is approved.”

A separate letter on 30th March was written to the Minister of Transportation by the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari.“The letter, “Re-remittance of operating surplus to the consolidated revenue fund account (CRF) by the Nigerian Ports Authority from 2016-2020”, said: “Reference letter FMT/F7A/DFA/DMP/I/DI, dated 4th March 2020, I write to forward Reference A to you and to convey to you Mr. President’s approval of your prayers.

“Submitted for your further action, please.”

Findings however confirmed that the observations of the Budget Office of the Federation and insider’s abuse were “official justifications” to rein in Hadiza.

It was learnt that there were over 100 issues covering some of the following: Alleged gross violation of procurement process; administrative lapses leading to non-remittance of VAT deductions running into billions of naira and in foreign currency denomination to the Federal Inland Revenue Service; alleged excessive increase in administrative operational expenses; extra budgetary expenditures on hotel accommodation and under disclosure of expenditures on hotel expenses; alleged inflation of CSR expenses; about 573% rise in expenditure on local and foreign medical expenses, legal fees, corporate souvenirs and expenditure and alleged increase in administrative cost by 72%.

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