Rilwan Adetayo Balogun 1 day ago
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The Nigeria Ports Authority has landed itself in crisis after it awarded huge contracts to a company known to have received bans from conducting any business in some parts of Europe.
Anti-corruption non governmental agency, Cardrell has revealed the extent of corruption that has gone down at the NPA.
Cardrell’s investigations, made available to ALEDEH revealed that the company was awarded a contract of $70million without bidding at all and that some senior figures in the NPA enjoy special benefits.
It was also revealed that foreign news outlets have reported the case of the Cypriot Dredging Company and had gone all out for the NPA in their reports, but quite alarmingly, the agency still went ahead to sanction a deal with the banned company.
According to an investigative assessment by Cardrell of NPA’s involvement in the high-ground corrupt practise, it said;
“Sometimes in February, 2018 we stumbled on a letter from the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport to the Director General, Bureau of Public Procurement, requesting the issuance of a Certificate of No Objection for the award of contract on remedial works at Escravos Channel-Replacement of Aids to Navigation and Minor Dredging at Delta Ports, Warri, to enable it award the said contract to Messrs Dredging International Services Nigeria Limited at the sum of Forty-Four Million, Eight Hundred and Sixty One Thousand, Five Hundred and Ninety-Six US Dollars ($44,861,596.81).
Upon investigation, we discovered there was indeed a previous bribe for contract scandal involving the NPA, and the said company. Surprisingly, the said scandal was conspicuously reported in major news in Nigeria, Overseas and various online news portals, ranging from;
Vanguard Newspaper of 24th August, 2017; Tribune Newspaper of 17th October, 2017; Punch Newspaper of 12th October, 2017; Thisday of 30th July, 2017; Nation Newspaper of 12th October, 2017; Premiumtimes on the 18th of June, 2017; newtelegraphonline on the 24th of August, 2017; businessandmaritimewestafrica.com on the 17th of October, 2017
Even, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project – an International Online Magazine – reported it thus;
NPA awards dredging contract worth US$70,000,00 Seventy Million US Dollars each year to Dredging International Services, without competitive bidding, as required by the Nigeria Laws.
And till date this convicted company is believed to have won jobs worth at least (N717 ,000,000,000.00) Seven Hundred and Seventy Billion Naira (US$2,280,000,000.00) Two Billion, Twenty Eight Million US Dollars from NPA.
We immediately wrote a letter dated the 6th day of March, 2018 to the Director General of the BPP drawing his attention to the notorious fact that the company they were about awarding a contract to, Dredging International Services Nigeria Limited, was convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction in Switzerland, and that awarding the contract to the said company would be contrary to clear provisions of S. 16 ( (e) & (f) of the Public Procurement Act 2007.
Sometimes in April, 2018, we got a call from the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Lagos office that our petition to the BPP has been referred to them for investigation. We immediately visited the EFCC office on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, where we made statements and submitted documents and were also grilled by a group of investigators, who then promised to get back to us, if the need arises. We have subsequently visited the office of the EFCC severally thereafter, and they have promised investigations into the matter was still ongoing.”
The investigations also involved a publication by This Day Newspaper where members of the public were invited to a public hearing by the House of Representative Joint Committee on Ports, Harbours & Waterways and Public Procurement over the case.
“By a Thisday Newspaper publication dated the 13th day of May, 2018, the House of Representative Joint Committee on Ports, Harbours & Waterways and Public Procurement in exercise of its investigative/quasi-judicial powers, as defined in S. 88 & 89 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) invited members of the public to a public hearing/investigation into the matter and called for memoranda/position papers from the general public in respect thereof.
We prepared and presented a position paper to the House Joint Committee on the 31st of May, 2018 where we reiterated our position and we urged the House to invoke her powers under Section 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to request NPA to reverse the award of the contract on the ground that the foreign company, the contract was awarded to, Dredging International Services Ltd, was a sister company of a convicted company (Dredging International Services Cyprus, both subsidiaries of DEME Group Belgium) having been convicted upon an investigation by the office of the Attorney General, Department of International Affairs, Switzerland on allegations that the company and some officials of the NPA were alleged to have been involved in a bribe for contract scandal of Twenty Million U.S. Dollars ($20,000,00) and subsequently convicted on the 2nd of May 2012 and fined One Million Swiss Francs, by the court for bribing Nigeria officials. We also prayed the Committee to blacklist the said convicted company from Bidding for or executing contracts in Nigeria in accordance with S. 16 ( (e) of the Public Procurement Act 2007.”
The Dredging company received the contracts despite many sanctions against them and are still convicted in Europe for illegal transactions with Nigerian companies and other criminal offences.