The Nigerian Senate will look into the alleged improprieties of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) related to the spending of $3 billion for the dredging of the Calabar, Lagos and Bonny channels 11 years ago.
Managing Director of NPA, Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman, has welcomed the decision of the Senate to look into the activities of the Joint Venture Enterprises of the NPA, namely, the Lagos Channel Management (LCM), Bonny Channel Company (BCC), and Calabar Channel Management Company Limited, as raised in a motion on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday.
“The investigation ordered by the senate was in line with the determination of the NPA to open its book for probity at all times and assured the senate of its cooperation always,” said Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman.
According to Senator Omo-Agege, the Senate is worried that although these JVs are public-private partnerships conceived to reduce financial burdens on the Federal Government, “the NPA has expended over $1 billion and $2 billion, respectively, on LCM and BCC from 2005 to date, while significant dredging is yet to commence on the Calabar channel”.
Lagos Channel Management Limited is a joint venture enterprise formed in August 2005 between the Nigerian Ports Authority and Depasa Marine International for the management and routine maintenance dredging of Lagos navigation channels; with NPA and TCMC holding 60% and 40% equity shareholding respectively of LCM.
Bonny Channel Company Limited is a JV company also formed in August 2005 between the NPA and The Channel Management Company (TCMC) for the management and routine maintenance dredging of the Bonny River and Bonny navigation channel, with NPA and TCMC holding 60% and 40% equity shareholding respectively of BCC.
Calabar Channel Management Company (CCMC) Limited is also a JV arrangement between Niger Global Engineering & Technical Company Limited and the NPA for the management and capital dredging of the Calabar channel, with NPA holding 60% equity share participation while Global Engineering and Technical Company Limited holds 40% equity shareholding in CCMC.
The lawmakers mandated the Senate Committee on Marine Transport to investigate the “dredging activities, books and records” of the NPA and the three contracted companies.