The Senate has commenced investigation into the Bureau of Public Enterprise’s (BPE) alleged refusal to remit $679.4 million realised from the ports’ concession to 23 companies by the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) in the last 10 years.
The Red Chamber’s Public Accounts Committee chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide hinged the probe on the 2017 Auditor General of the Federation’s (AuGF) report which is before the Committee for consideration.
According to the query by the AuGF, 23 companies were granted concessional rent at various ports under NPA for 10 years and above with associated yearly rent of $679.4 million payable to NPA as at 31st December, 2016.
The AuGF added that there was no evidence to show that $679 million was collected as at when due and remitted to Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).
The AuGF query read: “Twenty-three companies were granted concessional rent of various Ports under NPA for 10 years and above with associated yearly rent of $679,403,172 payable to NPA as at 31st December, 2016.
“There is no evidence to show that the sum of $679,403,172.00 was collected as at when due and remitted to the CRF. This has been communicated to the Bureau vide letter with reference No. OAuGF/RESAD/05/2016/07 dated 19th April, 2018.No response has been received from the Bureau.
“Unremitted funds may be misapplied by the bureau. Also, it may lead to diversion of funds to other uses. The Director-General is required to show evidence that the sum of $679,403,172.00 was collected and remitted to the appropriate authority.”
In its response, the BPE explained that the concession transactions were done in 2005, adding that the concession agreement executed clearly showed that the Bureau was only a confirming party while the primary parties to the concessions were the NPA.
The BPE explained that the responsibility for such collection was that of the NPA and not that of its agency.
According to the agency: “Having midwife the concession transactions, the BPE collected some of the remittance to the NPA. The NPA had since acknowledged the transfer made regarding the rentals received on its behalf by the Bureau.
“Revenue accruing on the Ports concession have, beyond 2008, been paid directly to ‘Landlord’, NPA and not the BPE as the OAuGF report appears to allege. We are therefore unaware of the $679.4 million.”