The former Managing Director of the Nigerian Port Authority, NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, has been accused of looting the NPA yearly remittance operating surplus of over N165billion between 2016-2020, according to documents available to

Her suspension was announced by the presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu on Thursday but no reason was given why she was relieved of her duty.

Prof.Ibrahim A. Gambari, Chief of Staff to the President had in a memo to the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi conveyed the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari, the suspension of Hadiza Bala Usman over a humongous sleaze.

The Minister had in a memo titled “Remittance of operating surplus to the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account (CRF) by the Nigerian Ports Authority from 2016 – date” requested for the approval “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.”

According to the memo, “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 year 2016 -2020 has been far short of the amount due for actual remittance.

“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 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}.”

In response to a request by the Minister of Transportation, the   Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze confirmed that indeed that the accounts of the NPA has not balanced in the last four years.

The memo from the DG Budget Office states, “Please refer to your letter dated 19” February, 2021 ref. PS/MOT/143/II/27 on the above subject. Kindly find attached the underlisted data on Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA):

“I. Summary of Operating Surplus Payment (OPS); II. Actual Revenue and Expenditure Performance, 2017-2020; and Ill. Medium Term Revenue and Expenditure Framework, 2021-2023.

“2. The above listed Government Owned Enterprise (GOE) is supervised by the Federal Ministry of Transportation.

“3. The data is attached as submitted by the above agency to the Budget Office. The Operating Surplus Remittances are evidenced by Treasury Receipts.”

This revelations have put in nullity efforts by the office of thr Auditor – General for the Federation to delay or kill the investigation.

A document in our possession had clearly showed how the AGF office refused to carry out an investigation on the activities of Nigerian Ports Authority as requested by the Minister of Transportation.

The Minister had in April forwarded and conveyed to the AGF, the President’s approval of the Ministry’s request that the Financial Activities including but not limited to the remittances of operating surpluses of Nigerian Ports Authority for the period 2016 — 2020 which was meant to be wholistically and comprehensively investigated and audited.

The Minister had also suggested five reputable professional Audit firms in Nigeria that can be recruited for the job which include KPMG NIGERIA, DELOITTE NIGERIA, PRICE WATER HOUSE COOPERS INC (PWC) NIGERIA, ERNEST AND YOUNG (EY) NIGERIA as well as MCKINSEY AND COMPANY NIGERIA.

But the Auditor General of the Federation, Aghughu Adolphus in his wisdom insisted that it can only intervene when auditors appointed by the Nigeria Port Authority must have submitted its report and that it was not within the powers of the Minister to suggest to him the Audit firms to carry out such tasknow.

The AGF in a with reference number FMOT/F&A/AUGF/2017/4/1/T dated 6″ April, 2021 said, “The Board shall cause to be kept proper accounts of the Authority and proper records, in relation thereto and when certified by the Board, the accounts shall be audited by auditors appointed by the Authority from the list and in accordance with the guidelines supplied by the Auditor-General for the Federation’. (See subparagraph 2 of paragraph 20 of NPA Act),

“Nothing in Sub-section (2) of this Section shall be construed as authorising the Auditor-General to audit the accounts of or appoint auditors for government statutory corporations, commissions authorities. agencies, including all persons and bodies established by an Act of the National Assembly, but the Auditor General shall: (a) provide such bodies with: (i) a list of auditors qualified to be appointed by them as external auditors and from which the bodies shall appoint their external auditors.

“The NPA Board has duly engaged the External Audit firms — Messrs Muhtari Dangana & Co. (Chartered Accountants) and SIAO Chartered Accountants. The said Audit firms audited and published the audited accounts of NPA duly approved by the Board for the years ended: 31th December, 2016, 31 December, 2017 and 31″‘ December, 2018 respectively.

“The audit of 2019 by Messrs. Muhtari Dangana & Co. (Chartered Accountants) and SIAO Chartered Accountants is on-going, awaiting NPA Board’s approval to be published.

“Also, my Office has conducted periodic checks for the years 2016 — 2018, and issued Periodic Checks Reports along with comments on their annual accounts and auditor’s reports thereon, and reputable Professional Audit firms are already being engaged by the Board in line with the enabling Act. Hence no justification for the Ministry “to advertise and select qualified Audit firms to conduct the exercise”.

Faced with this roadblock, the Minister quickly resorted to the Budget Office of the Federation where he was given a detail information that finally nailed Hadiza Bala Usman.

Bala Usman appointment was on a recommendation of the Kaduna State governor,  Malam Nasir el-Rufai who is believed to be in a different political camp with Rotimi Amaechi.  It is believed that the attack on Hadiza Bala Usman was an indirect affront on el-Rufai who is also leading another camp in preparation for the 2023