Senate Probes $3 billion NPA Spent on Dredging
The Nigerian Senate, has turned its attention to the alleged $3 billion the Nigerian Ports Authority spent of dredging the Lagos, Bonny and Calabar water channels.
On Wednesday, during plenary, the lawmakers mandated the Senate Committee on Marine Transport to investigate the “dredging activities, books and records” of the NPA and the three companies engaged for the job.
NPA allegedly holds 60 percent stake in the companies, the Punch reports.
The companies are Lagos Channel Management Limited, Bonny Channel Company Limited, and the Calabar Channel Management Company Limited.
The decision to investigate the agency followed a motion by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (Delta Central) which was co-sponsored by five others senators.
The motion was titled, ‘Senate‘s Intervention to Urgently Stop Monumental Financial Recklessness and Economic Waste by the Nigerian Port Authority Under Its Joint Ventures with Lagos Channel Management Limited, Bonny Channel Management Company Limited and Calabar Channel Management Company Limited.’
Omo-Agege lamented that despite being joint venture contracts, the NPA was still spending more on the dredging projects.
He stated, “The Senate is worried that although these JVs are supposed public-private partnerships conceived to reduce financial burdens on the Federal Government, the NPA has expended over $1bn and $2bn, respectively, on LCM and BCC from 2005 to date, while significant dredging is yet to commence on the Calabar channel; notwithstanding that it is an economic gateway to the North-Central and North-East political zones of the country.”
He said the NPA had “failed, refused and/or neglected” to ensure the JVs’ compliance with the Marine Environment (Sea Dumping) Regulations 2012 made pursuant to the Merchant Shipping Act 2007; the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matters 1972, otherwise called the ‘London Dumping Convention,’ and the 1996 Protocol to the London Dumping Convention.”
Senate President Bukola Saraki, in his remarks, blamed the anti-corruption agencies in the country for not detecting the alleged misappropriation of funds on the contracts.
He wondered how the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission missed the $3bn spent by the NPA in 10 years.
“The Committee on Marine Transport should ensure that they work quickly on this. We cannot continue to put our money where it is being stolen,” Saraki said.
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