N2.8bn contract: Bala-Usman responds to Amaechi, stating former minister’s allegation is false

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Hadiza Bala-Usman, a former managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, has refuted the claim made by Rotimi Amaechi, a former minister of transportation, that she gave a contract valued at N2.8 billion while she was in charge.

At a Lagos event on Thursday, the former minister charged the former NPA head of leaving out the offenses that resulted in her dismissal from the position in her book, “Stepping on Toes: My Odyssey at the Nigerian Ports Authority.”

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As the managing director of NPA, Amaechi claimed that Bala-Usman approved a N2.8 billion contract because there were too many lies in the book. Bala-Usman had an approval limit of N2.5 million.

Bala- Usman, the President’s Special Advisor on Policy Coordination, questioned where Amaechi refuted the minister’s claim in a signed statement dated October 28.

 

She said that the charge was not included on the list of offenses that she received in response to a question from the Panel of Inquiry that Amaechi had set up.

A portion of the statement said, “Mr. Amaechi claimed in his tirade that I gave a contract worth N2.8 billion.” This is untrue. I am unsure of the source of the former minister’s N2.8 billion estimate, as this charge did not appear on the list of transgressions he sent me in response to a question about the findings of the Administrative Panel of Inquiry he established.

She pointed out that the sole matter pertaining to a contract award in the inquiry was the emergency acquisition of operating automobiles in the wake of the NPA’s October 21, 2020, damage of its Marina, Lagos offices.

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The former head of NPA said that in response to the question, she clarified that she had never violated the Procurement Act.

In response to a question about the N1.2 billion expenditure, she stated, “I explained that we made the procurement under the provisions of Sections 43 (1) (a), (2), (3), and (4) of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 (PPA), which allows procuring entities to purchase items due to the emergency nature of the need and obtain the necessary approval upon conclusion of the procurement.”The book’s pages 166–171 contain a thorough account of the answer to the inquiry, including the approval that was granted and the purported escalation of the car costs.

of the claims of the waivers given to certain people while in charge, she claimed that the question and her response supporting it were in the book.

“The previous minister also discussed waivers, which the FMOT’s inquiry addressed in Item F,” the speaker continues. The book’s pages 171–175 contain the query and my answer outlining the facts and rationale for each waiver that the NPA management has given.

“The information on Query C, which claimed the “unilateral execution of a supplemental agreement in respect of Lekki Deep Sea Port Concession Project found on pages 163-165 of the book,” was misrepresented by him.

The former head of the NPA further stated that she was not aware of the ten counts Amaechi alleged the panel had found her guilty on.

She inquired as to whether the non-remittance of N165 billion to the Consolidated Revenue Fund was included in the figures.
I haven’t received any such indictments, therefore I’m not aware of these 10 crimes. Can I, however, ask him if these counts encompass the purported failure to remit N165 billion in operating surpluses to the Consolidated Revenue Fund, for which he applied for and received permission from former President Muhammadu Buhari to look into the NPA’s books and my “resignation from office”?
“”Is it not the case that this serious accusation was not mentioned in the inquiry I got from the ministry following the panel’s conclusion?” she questioned.

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