The House of Representatives on Wednesday directed its Committee on Navy to probe the legality of the $195,300,000 (equivalent of N59,839,930,000) contract awarded to a foreign private company, HLS International Limited (HLSI), for the supply of certain security and surveillance equipment and systems.
The House asked the committee to ascertain if the contract award complied with extant laws and regulations.
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It asked the committee to determine the actual amount of money spent by the government on the deep blue contract and any other matter(s) relating to the contact and report back within eight weeks for further legislative action.
This followed the adoption of a motion by Benjamin Okezie Kalu who recalled that on July 27, 2017, the Ministry of Transportation, on behalf of the Federal Government, entered into the contract.
He said it was worrisome that the payment of N59,839,930,000 made to the company to secure and survey the nation’s waterways was “astronomically higher than the annual capital expenditure budget of the Nigerian Navy which was N27.2bn in 2019, N20bn in 2020, N26bn in 2021 and approved the proposal of N27bn in 2022.”
He said in addition to the contract sum of $195,300,000, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) agreed to pay $19,530,000 to HLSI as management training consideration.
Kalu said the National Assembly had neither authorized nor appropriated any monies for the contract or any monthly expenditures according to the foregoing payment schedule, hence, the need for investigation.