The minority caucus of the house of representatives has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate Hadiza Bala Usman, the suspended managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
President Muhammadu Buhari last Thursday approved the suspension of Usman following a recommendation by Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation.
He also directed Amaechi to set up an administrative panel of inquiry to investigate the management of the NPA. On Monday, Amaechi inaugurated the panel.
In a statement issued on Monday and signed by Ndudi Elumelu, minority leader of the lower chamber, the caucus demanded a full-scale probe of the NPA management.
The lawmakers said an administrative panel would not carry out a thorough investigation into the matter.
“The Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives is alarmed by the alleged looting of over N165 billion operating surplus as well as other diverted funds running into billions of naira, by top officials of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA),” the statement read.
“Such huge economic crime against the nation should not be left to an administrative panel of enquiry, but committed to an anti-graft agency for independent investigation.
“Our Caucus holds that the mere suspension of the indicted Managing Director of the NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, and the resort to an administrative panel of enquiry even after the report by the Supervising Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, exposed an unremitted and possibly diverted operating surplus of N165 billion, amounts romancing and perfuming corruption by the APC-led Federal Government.
“The Minority Caucus also believes that the recourse to an administrative instead of a full-scale criminal investigation can only serve as decoy to shield some other APC government officials involved in the looting spree at NPA and other affiliated agencies in the transport sector.
“This is because, apart from the unremitted N165 billion cited by the Minister, other documents and reports from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation had also uncovered several sleaze, including unremitted deduction to Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) amounting to N3,667,750,470. $148,845,745.04, Euro 4,891,449.50 and £252,682.14.
“This is in addition to audit query of N15.18 billion allegedly stolen through inflated Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects/programmes under the watch of the suspended NPA Managing Director.”
The lawmakers said the alleged misappropriated funds in NPA would have been used to tackle the rising insecurity in the country.
They urged the anti-graft agency to take a drastic step to “recover the stolen funds as well as prosecute all involved in the looting spree.”