Lawmakers at House of Representatives have urged Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to begin investigating N165 billion financial mismanagement levelled against suspended Managing Director of Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman.
They argued that the anti-graft agency must also swing into action to conduct an independent investigation aside from the administrative panel of enquiry set up by the executive arm of government.
The lawmakers under the aegis of Minority Caucus maintained that such huge economic crime against the nation should not be left to an administrative panel of enquiry alone.
The House Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, made the call in a statement he personally signed on Monday on behalf of the lawmakers, adding that the EFCC must immediately take in the former NPA boss and commence a system-wide investigation with a view to prosecuting her if found wanting.
According to him, our Caucus holds that the mere suspension of the indicted 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 a decoy to shield some other APC government officials involved in the looting spree at NPA and other affiliated agencies in the transport sector,” the statement read in part.
The lawmakers expressed concerns that by committing the alleged NPA looting to an administrative panel, political manipulations and partisan influences had taken precedence over what should have been a system-wide investigation into a monumental fraud.
“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 sleazes, 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.
“As representatives of the suffering people of Nigeria, our Caucus is particularly very worried that such monumental lootings are going on at a time terrorists, bandits, unknown gunmen, and criminal militias are reigning supreme across the length and breadth of the country and life has consequently become the cheapest article in the country,” the lawmakers said.