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Senate gives NPA 48hrs to produce unaccounted $1.8bn

The Senate Committee on Public Accounts has issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the management of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) to provide answers to the…

The Senate Committee on Public Accounts has issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the management of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) to provide answers to the whereabouts of over $1.8 billion in the purse of the Authority.

It also threatened to use all instruments available by law to bring the management of NPA to order if it violates the ultimatum.

Chairman of the committee, Senator Ahmed Aliyu Wadada (Nasarawa), while briefing journalists Tuesday at the National Assembly, disclosed that the NPA management has been unable to clarify the whereabouts of the fund.

Senator Aliyu also berated the Managing Director of the NPA over his alleged refusal to appear before the panel, adding that his representative was nowhere to be found when it was time for the interface.

He said: “Nobody is above the law, or would be allowed to take the institution of the National Assembly for granted. We are the people’s parliament. We are here on the mandate of the people, and we will not take disrespect from anybody.”

He further revealed that the management of the NPA was required to furnish the panel the details on $68 million covering “outstanding estate rents, shipping bills, service boats, among others.”

He added that the status of longstanding debts and debtors form part of the issues that the management is expected to answer.

Others, according to him, are Lagos Channel management, Bonny Channel management, and Calabar Channel management.

Meanwhile, Senator Wadada also said his committee was also probing the Nigerian Customs Service over the under-remittance of N62bn in the revenue generated by the agency.

He said the revenue under-remittance was contained in the 2017 Auditor General Report which is currently being considered.

The query reads, “In the report of NCS summary of the monthly collection 2017 total collection for the federation account were N691bn.

“However, the receipt of NCS collection and remittance into Federation Account 2017 showed actual remittance into the account with the CBN for the year under review to be N629bn.

” A comparison of these two documents revealed an under remittance N62bn.

“There was no footnote or any form of additional information attached to the two reports showing the reasons for the discrepancies neither there was any form of communication from the management on the intention for the future reconciliation or remittance.

“The above anomalies could be attributed to weaknesses in the internal control system at Nigeria Customs Service Headquarters Abuja.”

The chairman of the committee, therefore, asked the Customs to come up with their defence on the allegation of under-remittance within two weeks.

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