The House of Representatives has summoned the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and the Management of the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) over the unremitted sum of N166bn revenue generated by the agency as of December 31, 2016, but was not properly captured in its statement of account.
Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts, Hon Oluwole Oke, insisted that Amaechi must appear before the legislative panel, following the absence of the minister, the management of the NPA and the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), who were earlier billed to appear before the committee on the audit queries to them from the office of the Auditor General of the Federation.
They were, however, said to have pleaded with the Committee for another date to cause appearance before it in respect of the audit queries.
Hon. Oke said that in the spirit of fair hearing, the Minister and the management of the NPA have been given a July 8 date to appear before the Committee including NRC on the audit queries raised against them.
He added both the minister and the management of the NPA would also explain the cost of services rendered to the Authority amounting to about N103.996 billion including channels and waterways maintenance (N65.130 billion) and Port and Quays Expenses of N38.412 billion.
According to him, “They are being expected to respond to audit queries contained in the comments of the Auditor General of the Federation on the group financial statement of the Nigeria Port Authority for 2016.
“They are expected to give a breakdown of the Ports and Quays Services income stating the respective income from each of the services, scheduled oil terminal dues, details of pilotage and service boats, and the nature of rentals services offered and rates applied.
“The Auditor-General said that they are expected to answer questions from the lawmakers, giving a breakdown of maintenance, budgetary provisions and evidence of work done on the channels and waterways as examination of the accounts revealed that the channels and waterways maintenance rose from N44.427 billion in 2015 to N64.130 billion in 2016, an increase of over N20 billion.
“The Auditor’s comments suggested that the NPA incurred about N38.412 billion as service charge on the Ports and Quays and demanded that the management of the Authority provide details of how these charges were incurred and also explained what they meant by the term “others” for which about N4.7 billion was spent.
The Auditor-General said that further examination of the accounts of the NPA revealed that Integrated Services Limited (INTELS) were overpaid their commission to the tune of N2.099 billion.
The Minister and the NPA management are also to explain what happened to the dividend income of N643.006 million received from their joint venture partners as well as interest income of about N97.8 million and N28.7 million being interest from bank deposits and interest on loan and receivables.
Other queries against the NPA include administrative expenses of N61 billion which include professional charges of N638 million, donation and subscription of N1.88 billion, exchange loss of N7,3 billion, defined benefit expenses of N11.4 billion, and director’s remuneration of N4.2 million.
The Auditor General’s query signed by Adolphus Aghughu and dated 24th May, 2021 also identified what it called understatement of depreciation charges to the tune of N6.4 billion stressing that “the provision made against eight classes of property amounted to N4.472 billion as against N10.891 million arrived at during vetting.