Sacked NPA Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman
… As grapevine says Accounts and Audit department may soon be set ablaze
Major crisis looms at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), following President Muhammadu Buhari suspension of the NPA Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman, and appointed the Executive Director, Finance, Mr Mohammed Koko to take over.
This is coming, even as grapevine says plans are high to set ablaze the Accounts and Audit department.
Industry watchers who blamed Hadiza for running the office with impunity however highlighted that Koko was not a reasonable alternative, alleging that Koko had a case with the Interpol and the EFCC.
“Koko has issues with both the Interpol and the EFCC.
He didn’t pass the security test before he was appointed to the exalted office, as the appointment went through the backdoor”, an industry watcher who spoke on condition of anonymity alleged.
A statement issued by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, yesterday said the NPA strong-woman, Hadiza Bala Usman was suspended, following recommendation of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
Consequently, an Administrative Panel of Inquiry would be set up to investigate the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority, under Hadiza.
“The President has also approved that the Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman step aside while the investigation is carried out. Mr Mohammed Koko will act in that position.
President Muhammadu Buhari
“The panel is to be headed by the Director, Maritime Services of the Ministry, while the Deputy Director, Legal of the same ministry will serve as Secretary”, Garba Shehu indicated further, adding that other members of the probe panel, will be appointed by the Minister, Rotimi Amaechi.
But another industry watcher, Tony Emeordi said there was need to know if the probe would be open or a closed probe panel, as both Hadiza and Koko has sufficient information, to nail each other.
“If it is closed, how do we ascertain it’s fairness. If it is open, everyone should attend it with tapes”, he advised.
Yet another industry watcher who also spoke on condition of anonymity said, he was aware that while Hadiza went on leave and Koko held the fort, a lot of administrative blunders were committed, including an alleged employment of NYSC people, serving in the Authority,
He further alleged that one of the beneficiaries of the ‘attrocities’ was a child of a serving NPA General Manager, from the North.
“The roforofo fight will be ignited once they begin the probe.
“I understand that when Bala Usman went on leave, Koko took the opportunity to amass vital dossier against her. On her resumption, when some of her loyalists unveiled the development, she too, immediately built up a huge file for Koko.
“In fact, we learnt that was when she gathered that the London, London that Koko was frequenting was over his case with the Interpol”, he alleged further.
An importer in Apapa, Jude Nwanna said he learnt that Koko was Rotimi Amaechi’s Account Officer in Zenith Bank, when Amaechi was the Rivers State Governor.
He said Koko was so ‘effectively good’, that when Amaechi became a Minister, he brought him to NPA, wanting to make him the Managing Director, before unexpected power play, ended the ambition as the Second in Command.
“Koko is a good man. A core professional. You can’t unravel Amaechi, without first unnerving Koko”, he explained further, praising Koko’s unblemished loyalty, particularly to Amaechi.
A ship chandler whose view was sought advised Government to ask Koko to also step aside, pointing out that a man who is currently a candidate of Interpol and EFCC probes, if true, has no moral right, heading the NPA.
“If Koko wants Hadiza out to enable himself get there, then how can the probe be free or fair? Are we all sleeping? Doesn’t it occur to you too, that Koko would do everything humanly possible, to ensure that Hadiza does not come back?”, he asked, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Executive Director, Finance, Mr Mohammed Koko (now Acting Managing Director NPA)
The unanswered question, despite the ton of encomium heaped on Koko’s effectiveness however is: has the NPA truly become a fat, but orphaned cash cow, indiscretioally appropriated?
However, in a related development, the Shipping World magazine has provided bullet points of allegations, over which Hadiza Bala Usman may be probed.
- Alleged Corrupt Practices
* Cancelling running stevedoring contracts and awarding same to self and acolytes for 10 years;
* Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects that are supposed to serve as Palliatives for communities impacted by port operations, she has turned into a jamboree and avenue for indiscriminate award of inflated contracts at all locations, especially in the North
* The Palliatives intended to assist Internally Displaced Persons turned into an avenue for contract awards at exhorbitant cost.
* PBT approved the purchase of Toyota Coaster staff buses but chinese made buses were supplied. Ditto for ambulances;
* Most contracts in NPA allegedly being awarded to her brother( name withheld)through many phony companies and other fronts;
* Generally, over invoicing and inflation of contracts and non compliance with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act and extant regulations on pricing.
*. There was a contract that was recently awarded for the supply of 200 torchlights for 8m.
* Serving corps members were employed in NPA which is against the law and service rules;
* Fresh graduates were employed and promoted to one or two grade levels within two years in contravention of NPA Conditions of service and other civil service rules
* Misleading the Board into approving promotions for select officers over their seniors through improper placement and promotion in contravention of Federal Government circular referenced FC.6243/S.1/Vol.XV111/5 of 28th May, 2010 and the Presidential Directive conveyed vide letter referenced PRES/30-1 dated 20th September, 2004.
As clarified and reiterated by circular referenced FCSC/CHMN/CL/17/Vol.1/36 of 22nd October, 2013 which conveys the applicable policy as at today;
* Misleading the Board to approve the retention of officers who retired on contract without the fulfilment of the prerequisites for that kind of appointment under the conditions of service and extant Service rules.
- HIGH HANDEDNESS
* Auditors have been transferred for simply questioning and querying supplies being made by contractors, particularly with regards to quantity, quality and conformity with the approved standards by the PTB as reflected in the Letters of Award.
Only yesterday, (Thursday) the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders NAGAFF, called a public court classification of Hadiza and Nigeria Customs Service Comptroller General, Hamid Ali, in terms of performance and relevance, as well as in terms of prudent management of revenue generation.