‘How Hadiza Attempted To Share Channel Management Contracts Amongst Cronies’ – Insider
BY GBOGBOWA GBOWA
In her book ‘Stepping On Toes’, the former Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman alluded to operational circumstances in which she felt obliged to call for a fresh bid process in view if the terminal expiration of the authority’s channel management contracts whose operators, Bonny Channel Company Limited and Lagos Channel Management Limited had less than a year.
While the authority hold 60% equity with the respective companies under a joint venture, she said she was concerned about the companies inefficiencies and of the view that have their contracts should not be renewed unless they elect to participate in a new bid process she wanted NPA to undertake.
According to her, the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi advised against it while she and the Bureau of Public Enterprise insisted, and concluded the misunderstanding was one of the grudge the minister nursed against her, and which ultimately led to her sack.
She wrote, “As it became apparent after my suspension from office close to one year later, the Minister never forgave me for the position of the BPP, which did not allow him to get his objective of extending the contract as he wanted. I believe this was one of the many events that turned the Minister against me.”
But a former senior management staff of NPA in a document accused of mischief and facts twisting, and for being economical with the truth. The anonymous former employee stated that Usman’s motivating desire was to prequalify her cronies to take over the contracts, further noting that the ministerial directive that stopped the planned fresh bid process and thwarted her alleged permutations became matter of personal pains which manifested in the attempt to slander the former minister in her book.
The former employee who did not disclose his name in a counter narrative said: “The Authority during her tenure was advised by the supervisory ministry to not advertise the project immediately but to rather look inwards the possibility of acquiring the necessary equipment and build a more robust Division in house to handle the Authorities dredging function ,although this may not be visible immediately but as an administrator such suggestion should be viewed in reality to the existing cost of contracting which is also huge and handled by foreigners and would have advised the minister for a short term contract during which the organization will be able to plan ,budget and acquire the necessary equipment and manpower.
“Hadiza hurriedly embarked on a predetermined procurement process that prequalified her cronies although stalled by the HMT, if in her claim in the book the HMT wanted her out for two lucrative projects which include channel management and service boat the minister never re-procured this project 2 years after her suspension until he left office to contest contrary to her claims in chapter 14 of the book but like most other processes was deliberately compromised allegedly to favour Hadiza’s cronies against the conflict-of-interest provisions of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers.”
He listed the potential beneficiaries of these contracts as follows:
- Lagos Channel – Jaun Dull (promoted by WaffaDangote)
- Bonny Channel – Oldham Ltd. (owned by her brother’s lawyer and front for most juicy NPA contracts)
- Warri Escravos – Redstar Ltd./ China Harbour(her Cronies)
According to him, “These are companies whose directors are known and attached to Hadiza before, during and after her tour of service as the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority.
“It therefore beats one’s sensibility for a woman who have so much abused public trust and compromised processes to be pleading the victim in the face of brazen rape of the system, take for instance the unilateral 25% Hadiza approved for immediate implementation to one of the terminal operators and in her response to the panel query vehemently denied ever approving any 25%, this is perjury, and claimed the 25% was the approved percentage given in 2015.”