Re: How Bala Usman unlawfully frustrated NPA contractors caused huge loses in Nigeria’s Maritime Sector
Again today, the publishers of Sahara Reporters have gone to town with a falsehood laden report on my alleged frustration of contractors with the Nigerian Ports Authority.
Although the story claimed that the alleged frustration was meted out to contractors, it had no other instance to cite than the already overstated and repeatedly explicated case of the Integrated Logistics Services Limited (INTELS).
Even though it is obvious that publications like Sahara Reporters are sold to mischief such that no matter how many times, clarifications are made on any of the issues with which they play sensational journalism, they would continue to pretend like these facts were never in the public space. For the sake of the generality of Nigerians, whom I owe an explanation for whatever steps I take in the service of the nation, I present the truth of the INTELS story as follows:
• Neither I nor the Nigerian Port Authority disobeyed any court order in the matters involving INTELS or any other company for that matter.
• As a corollary to this, there was no court order existing at the time of the expiration of the boat pilotage contract between the NPA and INTELS by on August 8, 2020.
• I should also state that this contract was NOT TERMINATED contrary to claims by Sahara Reporters.
• For the records, INTELS was engaged as Managing Agents of the Authority for oil industry related activities in the compulsory pilotage district within the Exclusive Economic Zone of Nigeria.
• This contract commenced in June 2007 with a review of an extension of 10 years in 2011 to culminate in August 2020.
• The Authority had in 2017, served INTELS with a notice of termination for its refusal to comply with the Treasury Single Account policy of the Federal Government.
• Following the receipt of the termination notice, the company complied with the Policy. A supplemental agreement was signed to recognise the compliance to TSA and the notice of termination was accordingly withdrawn.
• In compliance with the Public Procurement Act, the Authority in Dec 2019 initiated a PUBLIC TENDER (Contrary to Sahara Reporters’ falsehood) process in anticipation of the expiration of the contract in August 2020. This was for the appointment a contractor to provide the Authority with that service.
• INTELS, alongside other companies, submitted bids to qualify for the tender in line with the criteria spelled out in the public advert. INTELS violated one of the criteria advertised for the tender process and was accordingly disqualified.
• The tender process proceeded accordingly and the companies that scored the highest were prequalified. The outcome of the transparent tender process was forwarded to the Federal Ministry of Transportation for onward transmission to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for its consideration.
• Upon disqualification from the tender process, INTELS initiated a court action to prevent the Authority from proceeding with the tender process citing a debt owed one of one their sister companies, Deep Offshore Nigerian Ltd for the development of Onne 4B. This is an amortization project which payment should be derived from the revenue raised from this service. There was no provision in the contract to the effect that INTELS must be the company carrying out the boat pilotage contract, but they have continued to hold the country to ransom for through this court case.
• It should also be noted that despite court case, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is currently working on recovering all Federal Government funds that the INTELS have withheld over the years. One would expect an organisation, which claims to fight corruption like Sahara Reporters to join hands in the elimination of all forms all illegality rather than this tacit approval.
• All the NPA tried to do was to see that INTELS and indeed no other business entity contravenes the laws of the country or the provisions of their contract.
• It is unfortunate that Sahara Reporters has continued to use its platform to tell Nigerians half-truths and outright lies about this situation with the false narratives, which are aimed at anything but the interest of the good people of Nigeria.
*Hadiza Bala Usman.
Sunday May 16, 2021