Managing Director of the Calabar Channel Management (CCM) Company Limited, Mr. Bart Van Eenoo has raised the alarm that some detractors are deliberately attempting to smear his company and ultimately stall the dredging of the Calabar Port, which CCM won through competitive bidding in 2004.
Reacting to a recent report that CCM was paid about 70per cent of the contract sum without execution of the project, Eenoo explained CCM is not involved in any contract with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) but a Joint Venture (JV) Agreement which the NPA has 60per cent and CCM 40per cent.
He told journalists in Abuja that â€œafter a lull in the deliberate falsehood by our detractors to portray our company in bad light and set us up against the government of the day, they (detractors) are at it again spurning lies against us but like in all previous attempts, they will failâ€.
According to him, contrary to the misleading reports, â€œour company is not involved in any contract with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) but a Joint Venture (JV) Agreement which the NPA has 60% and CCM 40%. Our company dredged the water channel by up to the envisaged more than 20 kilometers high spots within Tomshort Island before the NPA ordered stoppage of workâ€.
He clarified: â€œIt is wrong for anybody to accuse CCM of receiving 70 percent upfront when our company did not sign any contract with the NPA but a joint venture which the NPA is a co-owner and we are paid only when the NPA and the Consultants certify that the level of work carried out tallies with our invoice(s).
Again, how can anyone accuse our company of not doing any job when our partners- Boskalis and Westminster Dredging, internationally acclaimed companies participated in all works done with relevant stakeholders, including the NPAâ€™s Station Manager in Calabar then, alluding to the fact that CCM carried out appreciable work on the dredging until the disruption of work by the NPA.â€
Even some of the stakeholders were always aboard the dredgers during the cause of the dredging to have a feel of the work done. It is absolutely not correct to say that we did not carry out any dredging at the Calabar Channelâ€, he added.
He insisted that work was carried out on the dredging, adding that CCM on August 20, 2015 for instance, through its bankers-UBA, paid $1,207,440 to Dredging International Services for crewing and provision of logistics at the Calabar channel for nine weeks, $500,000 to Nigerian Westminster Dredging and Marine for dredging services at the Channel and $3,600,000 to Societe de Dragage for dredging services. The Nigerian Navy also confirmed that it provided security services for the dredging.
â€œWhy did our company pay for the services of these companies if we did not carry out any dredging as claimed by our detractors? Some of our invoices with the NPA are yet to be paid. We have spent more on the dredging than what NPA has so far paid usâ€, he said.
Eenoo reiterated that whatever payment that was made to CCM, it was done in accordance with the terms of the JVC and that NPA participated in all the works done by our company â€œas its-NPA’s Project Resident Hydrographic Surveyor and Technical Auditors on the project-CARES Ltd were always on board the dredgers working on the project and certifying for payments only after verification that what we presented tallies with the work done and in accordance with the Joint Venture (JV) agreementâ€.
The CCM boss said his company participated in the bid for the JVC through an advert by the NPA titled â€œPublic Notice No.3551: Invitation for pre-qualification for the management of the Access Channels to all Nigerian portsâ€ and published in several newspapers on Wednesday, April 21, 2004.
He clarified: â€œThe entire bidding for the JVC followed full advertisement in the media and due processes with all the necessary approvals and vetting of the agreement by the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) before its execution. It was after a rigorous exercise that our consortium won the bid. It is the same consultants â€“ Mobotek that handled the selection process for the Lagos Channel Management Company and the Bonny Channel Management Company that conducted the bidding process which our Company passed the financial and technical bids and was duly handed a â€˜No Objectionâ€™ Certificate by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).â€