By Richards Adeniyi
The verbal fireworks between the management of Nigeria Ports Authority and Niger-Global Engineering and Technical Company Limited (NGETCL) over alleged multimillion dollars Calabar port channels dredging contract scam has continued.
It was reported yesterday that NPA had terminated the dredging contract through a letter signed by its Managing Director, Ms Hadiza Balance-Usman.
But the Managing Director of Calabar Channel Management (CCM) Company Limited, Mr. Bart Van Eenoo, has denied knowledge of the purported termination of its Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with the NPA over the dredging of the Channel.
Reacting to reports credited to the Managing Director of the NPA, Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman, to the effect that the NPA has terminated the JVA with the Niger-Global Engineering and Technical Company Limited (NGETCL) for the dredging of the Calabar Channel purportedly over the Violation of Procurement Act, Eenoo said though his company would not react to speculations as it has not received any such letter from the NPA or any other person, it was trite to point out that the contract followed due process and never violated any
He said the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) vide a letter referenced BPP/S.1/CID/14/VOL.1/088, dated August 15, 2014 and signed by the then Director General, Mr. Emeka Ezeh, approved the project.
Eenoo said the letter titled: RE: Contract for the Maintenance Dredging between Niger-Global and Technical Company and the NPA, reads: “This is to refer to the Federal Ministry of Transport letter Reference No.TPROC/NPA/P/67/2011/1/314 dated August 11, 2014. The Bureau has no objection to the implementation of the project as approved by His Excellency, Mr. President.”
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According to the MD, what the NPA MD is probably relying on is an earlier response by BPP to an initial petition by the former Board Chairman of the NPA to the presidency against the project which the President then, referred the matter to the BPP which after evaluating the matter gave the ‘No Objection Certificate’ and advised that the complaint by the former board chairman was merely a personal difference which it said should not affect the integrity of the project. The former chairman also wrote to withdraw the petition.
The CCM boss stated that the contract went through the necessary approvals and vetting by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice before it was finally sealed; and challenged the NPA MD to make public the purported letter from the BPP advising against the contract.
In any case, he said, there is a clause in the contract stating grounds of termination which CCM has not violated and the NPA cannot wake over night to terminate it.
Further, the MD said the NPA which is the majority shareholder in the Joint Venture with 60 per cent stake has not paid his salary and those of the other staff of CCM for over three years and it cannot terminate the contract on the pages of newspapers.