The Senate has directed that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) be probed following allegation of non-remittance of N177bn operational surplus it made, into the Consolidated Federation Account.
The decision followed a motion raised by Mohammed Hassan, a member of the Committee on Marine Transport, from Yobe South.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, based on the motion directed the committee’s chairman, Ahmed Yerima from Zamfara West to meet with all members of the committee on the allegation.
Saraki asked that the committee report back to the Senate within three days.
Hassan had, citing Standing Orders 42 and 52, alleged that contrary to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and extant laws of the NPA, the agency kept to itself N177bn operational surplus it made from accruing revenues in the 2017 fiscal year, without remitting it into the federation account.
He explained that the Senate committee had discovered that the NPA, in its budget defence of the performance of the 2017 budget, received N303bn as total operational revenue out of which N125bn was taken as operational cost as allowed by extant laws but refused to remit the balance of N177bn realised as surplus into the federation account.
He said, “This to me and by extension, the Senate, should not be condoned because the committee discovered this seven months ago and ordered the agency to do the needful which it has not done up till now.
“Attention of the Senate is being drawn to this impunity, because six months down the line, the agency has not complied with the directive of the committee or communicated to it on the matter in anyway.”
But a twist was introduced to the case when the committee’s chairman, Yerima, denied knowledge of Hassan’s allegation.
The Senator also disassociated himself and other committee members from the allegation.
He said Hassan, as a member of the committee, did not raise such issue at any of the committee’s sittings before raising the alarm on the floor of the Senate.
”As chairman of the committee, I am not aware of this allegation raised against NPA by Senator Hassan and I don’t think any other member of the committee is aware as well,” he said.
The Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah from Kebbi South also cautioned the Senate from relying on the allegation.
He said it would be premature to attach legislative seriousness to Hassan’s allegation.
“Mr President, as a lawyer, I studied Taxation Law. We should not be in a haste to conclude on the submission Senator Hassan has just made,” he warned.