NPA breaks silence on Escravos Contract award
The management of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has finally broken its silence on allegations of fraudin the award of contract for the dredging of Escravos Bar in Warri.
In a statement issued on September, the management of NPA said it had “maintained a dignified silence on the allegations until now as a result of the confidence that all processes as enumerated in the Procurement Act, 2004 were followed in the award of the contract.”
NPA management said that they had also assumed that if anyone had any issue with how the contract was given out, the right approach would have been to go to the courts to seek redress instead of engaging in a media campaign to discredit the process.
“However, after due consideration of our obligations to be accountable to the people of Nigeria that we serve, the Authority has decided to provide the following information in response to the spurious allegations and campaign of calumny being spread in the media.”
Explaining the process of the award of the contract, NPA stated that “the Authority is guided by provisions of the Procurement Act in all its procurement processes.”
The NPA also disclosed that all procurements by the Authority is subject to the supervision/approval of the Bureau of Public Procurement(BPP) and the authority received the necessary approvals before going ahead with the award of the contract for the dredging Warri Channel.
“All arithmetic computations so done by the Authority are in line with the PPA which so permits for the procuring entity to do such and consequent documentations of the computations were submitted to BPP for no objection which was obliged.”
“The Authority, upon receipt of the petition alleging that Dredging International Nigeria Limited had been convicted by a law court in Switzerland, sought the legal counsel of the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and requested an investigation of the petition by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).”
“In addition to this, although Dredging International Nigeria Limited provided us with a sworn affidavit in support of claims that they were different from the company that was so convicted, the Authority engaged a legal practitioner who embarked on an independent investigation of the petition and the claims of the company.”
“These investigation revealed that allegations that Messers Dredging International Services Nigeria Limited had been convicted in a law court in Switzerland for corrupt practices involving some officials of the Nigerian government including the NPA were incorrect. The Company so convicted in the Swiss Court is Dredging Cyprus Ltd which is a co-subsidiary of DISN. The two companies have different legal personalities as so recognized by the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), 2004. The conviction of a subsidiary company indeed is not the conviction of all companies within a group of companies. In addition, none of the directors so convicted for complicity by the court in Switzerland is on the board of Dredging International Nigeria Limited. The result of these investigations were made available to the BPP.”
“Nevertheless, the BPP itself set up an independent investigation of the petition and came to the conclusion that the company was eligible to participate in the bidding process.”
On the allegations of conflict in the award of the contract, NPA admitted that “the Managing Director of the NPA alongside some of the Directors are on the board of Bonny Channel Company, a joint venture set up as a long term structure for the continuous management, maintenance and provision of navigational aids of the Bonny channel with some Directors of the awardee.” “But these directors are on the board of the BBC on the strength of their current appointment. The NPA is chair of this JV by virtue of its ownership of 60 percent shareholding in the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and our directors do not have any private interests in the company.”
The NPA revealed the company that is behind the fraud allegations against it is “part of the consortium whose contract was terminated for having claimed to execute works of $34.6mill in the Calabar Channel out of which $12.5mill has been paid without evidence of work done. The Nigerian Government is currently in court with this consortium seeking for the refund of the Authority’s $12.5mill for work claimed to have been done without evidence.”
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