Fresh facts have emerged over the immediate reasons for the sack of the erstwhile Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman.
According to a memo addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari that may have sealed the fate of the Kaduna state-born female activist, personally written and signed by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Ameachi, the Minister complained of the inability of the NPA’s management to account for the unremitted amount of N165.320 billion between 2016 to 2020.
In the memo, titled: ”Remittance of Operating Surplus to the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account ( CRF) by the Nigerian Ports Authority from 2016- Date”, dated March 4, 2021, Ameachi accused the Hadiza- led management team of prolificacy.
In the memo, the Minister said he has observed from the records submitted by the Budget Office of the Federation that the yearly remittances of the operating surplus of the NPA within the period under review have been far short of the amount due for actual remittance.
Amaechi, in the memo, therefore sought the approval of the President to institute an audit of the accounts and remittances of the NPA within the years under review.
The memo further reads: ”In view of the above, I wish to suggest that the financial account of the activities of Nigerian Ports Authority be investigated for the period 2016 to 2021 to ascertain the true financial position and the outstanding unremitted balance of N165, 320, 962, 699, (One Hundred and Sixty-five billion, Three Hundred and twenty million, Nine Hundred and Sixty-two thousand, Six hundred and ninety-seven naira only).
“Prayer: 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”, the minister concluded.
The President granted the prayers of the Minister on March 17, 2021.
Already, in the sack notice that was couched in soft landing language of ‘suspension’, the Minister has announced the formation of the panel of inquiry that will make an inquest into the financial activities of the NPA, while Hadiza has been asked to step aside.
The panel is headed by the Director of Maritime Services in the Ministry of Transportation.
The Minister, who was said to have been away to Jos on an official assignment when the news of Hadiza’s ‘suspension’ filtered in late Thursday, is expected to announce the remaining members of the probe panel who are expected to hit the ground running thereafter.
Recall that the Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Mohammed Koko, has been asked to take over.