–Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA):
THE Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives has raised alarm on the alleged looting of over N165 billion operating surplus as well as other diverted funds running into billions of naira, by top officials of the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA).
The lawmakers described as “another sad commentary on the brimming corruption in the APC administration” the mindless looting of such stupendous resources at a time the country was writhing in the throes of worsening insecurity.
It, therefore asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to immediately “take in the indicted Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman, and commence a system-wide investigation with a view to prosecuting her, if found wanting”.
The Caucus in a statement signed by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu on Monday, insisted that such huge economic crime against the nation should not be left to an administrative panel of enquiry, but committed to an anti-graft agency for independent investigation.
The lawmakers expressed concerns that by committing the alleged NPA looting to an administrative panel, political manipulations and partisan influences had taken precedence over what should have been a system-wide investigation into a monumental fraud.
“Our Caucus holds that the mere suspension of the indicted Managing Director of the NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, and the resort to an administrative panel of enquiry even after the report by the Supervising Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, exposed an unremitted and possibly diverted operating surplus of N165 billion, amounts romancing and perfuming corruption by the APC-led Federal Government.
“The Minority Caucus also believes that the recourse to an administrative instead of a full-scale criminal investigation can nly serve as decoy to shield some other APC government officials involved in the looting spree at NPA and other affiliated agencies in the transport sector.
“This is because, apart from the unremitted N165 billion cited by the Minister, other documents and reports from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation had also uncovered several sleaze, including unremitted deduction to Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) amounting to N3,667,750,470. $148,845,745.04, Euro 4,891,449.50 and £252,682.14.
“This is in addition to audit query of N15.18 billion allegedly stolen through inflated Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects/programmes under the watch of the suspended NPA Managing Director.
“As representatives of the suffering people of Nigeria, our Caucus is particularly very worried that such monumental looting are going on at a time terrorists, bandits, unknown gunmen, and criminal militias are reigning supreme across the length and breath of the country and life has consequently become the cheapest article in the country.
“We imagine that such resources if channelled to the security sector and well managed would have made a world of difference in addressing the problem of insecurity in the country”, the lawmakers stated.
It added that the APC administration had crippled the national economy and brought untold hardship and suffering to Nigerians and therefore demanded more drastic step by anti-graft agencies to recover the stolen funds as well as prosecute all involved in the looting spree.
“It is a shame that a party that came to power with the promise of fight corruption, build the economy, and fight insecurity has ended up destroying whatever gains that were made before it came to power”, the Caucus concluded.