The minority caucus of the House of Representatives on Monday has called on the Federal Government to immediately commence full investigation of an alleged misappropriation of over N165 billion of operating surplus and the diversion of billions of Naira by the suspended Managing Director of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, and her top officials.
The lawmakers described the worrisome development as “another sad commentary on the brimming corruption in the APC administration, the mindless lootings of such stupendous resources at a time the country was writhing in the throes of worsening insecurity”.
To ensure that the truth about the allegation is established and that indicted officials of the agency are prosecuted, the Caucus specifically charged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arrest the indicted Managing Director, and commence a system-wide investigation.
In a statement signed by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu (PDP- Delta), the Caucus maintained that “such huge economic crime against the nation, should not be left to an administrative panel of enquiry, but committed to an anti-graft agency for an independent investigation”.
While expressing serious concern about the allegations, the lawmakers noted that “by committing the alleged NPA looting to an administrative panel, political manipulations and partisan influences had taken precedence over what should have been a system-wide investigation into a monumental fraud.
The Caucus further stated: “Our Caucus holds that the mere suspension of the indicted Managing Director of the NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, and the resort to an administrative panel of enquiry even after the report by the Supervising Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, exposed an unremitted and possibly diverted operating surplus of N165 billion, amounts romancing and perfuming corruption by the APC-led Federal Government.
“The Minority Caucus also believes that the recourse to an administrative instead of a full-scale criminal investigation can only serve as a decoy to shield some other APC government officials involved in the looting spree at NPA and other affiliated agencies in the transport sector.
“This is because, apart from the unremitted N165 billion cited by the Minister, other documents and reports from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation had also uncovered several sleazes, including unremitted deduction to Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) amounting to N3,667,750,470. $148,845,745.04, Euro 4,891,449.50 and £252,682.14.
“This is in addition to audit query of N15.18 billion allegedly stolen through inflated Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects/programmes under the watch of the suspended NPA Managing Director.
“As representatives of the suffering people of Nigeria, our Caucus is particularly very worried that such monumental lootings are going on at a time terrorists, bandits, unknown gunmen, and criminal militias are reigning supreme across the length and breadth of the country and life has consequently become the cheapest article in the country.
“We imagine that such resources if channelled to the security sector and well managed would have made a world of difference in addressing the problem of insecurity in the country”, the lawmakers added.