CSO Protests against Alleged N13.4b Fraud in NPA, BPP

Hadiza Bala-Usman
Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman

By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

A group,  Transparent Extractive Sector Operators Initiative (TESOI), Friday  protested against N13.4 billion  fraud allegedly perpetrated by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

The National Coordinator of the group, Mr. Jude Ogiba who led the protest in Abuja, alleged that the NPA as a procuring entity and the BPP as a regulator colluded to subvert the provisions of the Public Procurement Act (PPA )2007 to win the contract.

The group said investigations it carried out revealed that both NPA and BPP were marred with infractions, forgery, falsification, rigging of bids and abuse of office.

According to him, “The award of N13,461,787,192.25 contract to Dredging International Services Limited by the NPA in February 2018 is a complete violation of the provisions of section 16(8)(e&f) of the Public Procurement Act PPA(2007).”

Ogiba stressed that the company with its affiliate, Dredging International Services Cyprus Limited, both of which are subsidiaries of DEME group, had been convicted by a court of law in Switzerland on allegations of $20 million bribe

He lamented; “Despite the facts and investigation, the NPA in its show of “desperation” has proceeded to pay Dredging International Services, the sum of $6,289,538.52  as mobilisation fee for the project.”

“The award of the contract was done in flagrant violation of the provisions of extant procurement laws . The NPA and BPP decided to cover their tracks to mislead the president by failing to disclose the facts,” he added.

Ogiba pointed out that the group embarked on a peaceful protest to let Nigerians  know what was going on in the two government agencies, stressing that the group would approach a federal high court to secure an injunction in order to stop the contract.

“We are requesting  that the  matter is investigated because we feel this is injustice and we cannot continue to take it. There is so much infractions and so much corruption that must be investigated,” he stressed

He, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari, all security agencies and prosecutorial bodies to intervene in the matter, saying it’s a mockery of the present administration to bring corruption to a standstill.