Tuesday, May 28Nigeria's Authoritative Maritime News Magazine

Attairu Bala Usman, Hadiza Bala Usman’s brother was defacto NPA Chairman

Daniel Kanu writes Amaechi, NPA Probe Panel, demands payment of US$4,229,434.07, others

Hadiza Bala Usman
Hadiza Bala Usman

Renowned arrowhead of the One-Million-Man-March in the regime of late General Sani Abacha and businessman, Mr Daniel Kanu, is in the news again. According to a leaked document sighted by Newsdiaryonline, Kanu is this time around seeking justice over alleged infractions against his company, Cleanall Environmental Services Limited by Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA under suspended MD, Hadiza Bala Usman.

A copy of the petition signed the company’s chairman, Daniel Kannu, was endorsed as received by the Ministry of Transportation on 21 May 2021.

The petition to the Minister was further addressed: “Attention: The Chairman Administrative Panel of Inquiry on Nigerian Ports Authority Management”.In it Kanu made several prayers after listing the travails of his company with relevant annexes.

Though his company seems to have had issues with a previous leadership at NPA, Kanu listed four grounds for his petition against Hadiza-led management thus:The refusal to comply with terms of binding contracts; The refusal to comply with Ministerial and Presidential Directives issued to NPA; The refusal to comply with terms of Arbitral Rulings; (and) Exposing NPA to needless/avoidable litigations and accompanying expenses.

While outlining his prayers before the panel, Kanu said: “We urge this distinguished Panel to investigate our claims … We believe that if the Panel were to conduct a thorough investigation into this matter, the Panel would find the righteousness in our case.

“Consequently, we humbly pray and seek the panel’s intervention to ensure that:

“NPA implements the Presidential approval made in favour of our company for the provision of the following services at Lagos, Port Harcourt, Warri and Calabar pilotage districts:

(a) Remediation Services;

(b) Tank Washing Facilities (Ballast Water Management); and

(c) Use of electronic aid monitoring for illegal dumping and discharge at four (4) pilotage districts.

“NPA settles outstanding the final Tribunal Award sum of US$4,229,434.07 (four million, two Hundred Twenty-nine, four hundred thirty-four dollars seven cents) to avoid accumulating further interest.

“NPA settles outstanding USD$188,527.56 (One Hundred and Eighty-Eight Thousand, Five Hundred and Twenty-Seven United States Dollar and Fifty-Six Cents) double VAT wrongly deducted from our previous payment.

“We are willing and ready to appear before your panel to provide any additional documentation or information that you may require to assist your panel reach a just conclusion in its enquiry.

The petition dated 17th May, 2021 reads in part: “Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, Honourble Minister of Transport’s announcement and inauguration of the Administrative Panel of Inquiry on the operations of Nigerian Ports Authority under the stewardship of Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman as Managing Director is a welcomed development and a breath of fresh air in both the maritime industry and Nigeria as a whole. The operations of Nigerian Ports Authority have an enormous impact on all economic and social indexes of the Nation.

Metaphorically, if NPA sneezes, Nigeria will catch a cold. The egregious mismanagement at Nigerian Ports Authority from 2016-2021 can be directly and indirectly linked to capital flight, lack of investor confidence, elevated unemployment, economic regression, crime and other vices that the country has been experiencing in recent times.

“We therefore encourage your Panel to enthrone progressive ideals that encourage entrepreneurial spirit and creativity among existing investors, attract new investment and breed additional squadron of citizens to energize the economy, create jobs and generate much desired revenue for the Federal Government.

“Our company, Cleanall Environmental Services Limited, has been a victim of NPA’s failure to comply with the terms of respective contracts, court rulings and ministerial/presidential directives, and has suffered from the abuse of office and the flagrant disregard for extant Rules that has characterized Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman’s tenure as the Managing Director of NPA. Our Petition to this distinguished panel is predicated on clause (ii) of the Terms of Reference of this panel. We have reproduced the clause for ease of reference:

“Examine and investigate issues leading to the termination of pilotage and other contracts by the Nigerian Ports Authority and confirm compliance with the terms of the respective contracts, court rulings and Presidential directives.

On Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman’s alleged refusal to comply with terms of binding contracts, the petition says: “Pioneer Efforts Of Our Company

“Messrs. Cleanall Environmental Services Limited and its affiliated companies initiated several innovative ideas in environmental protection since 1997; and have fervently striven to secure NPA management, Ministerial, and Presidential approvals for the implementation of those environmental initiatives. Our proposals were designed to protect the environment, aid NPA to fulfill its obligations both to Nigeria and to the International Maritime Organization, create jobs, and generate revenue for the Nigerian Ports Authority. Ab initio Messrs Cleanall is the initiator of Public Private Partnership in the Environmental Sector at the Nigerian Ports Authority and the former National Maritime Authority (NMA), now Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

On “NPA’s Violation Of Terms Of Contract For Electronic Surveillance To Curb Illegal Dumping And Discharge At Warri And Calabar Pilotage Districts:

Kanu said, “We proposed a Public-Private-Partnership for the provision of Electronic Pollution Surveillance at the Warri and Calabar Pilotage Districts. After a robust vetting process and obtaining a Ministerial approval, Nigerian Ports Authority awarded the contract in favour of our company on 11th November 2005. As stipulated in the Award, “The offer is for a ten-years (10) contract period certain, renewable on expiration and predicated on your company providing the underlisted equipment and craft in each of the two pilotage districts.
(a) Patrol craft fitted with infrared camera

(b) ID-227 Oil sheen monitoring;

(c) Oil detection sensor;

(d) Wireless signal processor;

(e) Solar panel;

(f) Global Positioning System.” (Annex – 1)

“Nigerian Ports Authority though belated drafted a Contract Agreement for the Electronic Pollution Surveillance project and submitted the same to Federal Ministry of Transport for onward transmission to Federal Ministry of Justice for vetting. Federal Ministry of Justice reviewed the Contract Agreement and granted its approval for the execution of the Contract Agreement. (Annex – 2) Finally, Nigerian Ports Authority and Messrs Cleanall executed the Contract Agreement. (Annex – 3)

“Throughout the duration of the initial 10 years of the contract Messrs Cleanall provided the services effectively without a single query from the Nigerian Ports Authority. By the terms of the contract between our company and NPA, as highlighted in paragraphs 2.2.1 above, NPA ought to renew our contract at expiration once we were able to show that we had the equipment and craft itemized in the contract. Despite not having received any query from NPA and showing the equipment/craft necessary for renewal, NPA blatantly refused to renew the contract. Instead, NPA sought to rely on tenuous excuses to avoid its obligations to our company.

“While the contract was subsisting, NPA violated several terms of the contract. For instance, Article – 6.3 of the contract provided that NPA shall provide our company with a list of vessels that called at each navigational district on a monthly basis for the purpose of raising bills for services rendered. NPA never provided a list of vessels as prescribed throughout the duration of the agreement. Instead, we were compelled to establish an independent system to obtain the information, without compensation from NPA.

“Additionally, Article 3.2 of the contract provided that payment of the service charge shall be made on a monthly basis upon submission of a report of services performed for that month. NPA violated this clause by its failure to pay the Contactor on a monthly basis. Interestingly, NPA’s own internal documents did not dispute our company’s entitlement to the payment for services rendered. They simply refused to pay and dared us to do our worst. Currently there is a USD$4,229,434.07 (four million, two hundred and twenty-nine thousand, four hundred thirty-four dollars and seven cents) in outstanding payment for 12 months of performed services, which was the subject of Arbitration with a Tribunal ruling in favor of the Contractor. (ANNEX – 4).

“Both prior to and following the Arbitral proceedings, Messrs Cleanall made numerous appeals to the Federal Ministry of Transport, and the Ministry intervened by urging the Management of NPA to renew the agreement, which NPA led by Hadiza Bala-Usman disobeyed. One example of NPA insubordination to Ministerial directives may be found in a Federal Ministry of Transport letter to Nigerian Ports Authority dated 27th October 2015 with reference T.0160/S 160/TB Vol111/824, where the Ministry issued a further advise to NPA to “in order to avoid unnecessary litigations, NPA is advised to properly review its position with a view to implementing the Presidential Approval and executing its contracts with Messrs Cleanall Environmental Services Limited.” (Annex – 5) NPA under the stewardship of Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman persistently refused to comply with this and other Ministerial directives and Presidential directives, both discussed in Section 3 below. Yet another case of insubordination with financial losses incurred by NPA.

“When NPA grudgingly settled an initial debt owed to our company in 2012 at the urging of the Ministry of Transport, NPA wrongfully deducted the sum of USD$188,527.56 (One Hundred and Eighty-Eight Thousand, Five Hundred and Twenty-Seven United States Dollar and Fifty-Six Cents) from the amount due to our company. By our letter of 8th June, 2015, we promptly wrote to NPA requesting for the payment of the sum of USD$188,527.56 erroneously deducted from our payment. NPA has not refuted our demand, and neither has it honoured it. We wrote again to NPA on the 9th of November, 2015. NPA, on the 5th of November, 2015, wrote to our company confirming indeed that VAT was again deducted at the point of payment after it was already deducted at the point of tabulation of the invoice, but NPA took no steps to remedy the oversight.

“The contract remains in breach, and sums in the amount of USD$4,229,434.07 and USD$188,527.56 remain outstanding, in violation of the various directives discussed below.

He also claimed that she disobeyed presidential and Ministerial directives thus:

“On 28th May 2015, Messrs. Cleanall secured a Presidential Approval for provision of the following services

(a) Electronic pollution surveillance,

(b) Ballast water management (Tank washing) and

(c) Remediation services.

In accordance with laid down rules and procedure, NPA forwarded three (3) separate Legal Contract Agreements to our company for these three (3) projects for execution. (Annex – 6 and 7).

“The above services were to be funded by the Proponent Messrs. Cleanall at NO COST to NPA or the Federal Government. The services were projected to generate new revenue royalty for NPA and the Federal Government at the rate of USD$11,200,000.00 (eleven million two hundred thousand dollars) per month. That is an annual revenue of USD$134,400,000.00 (One hundred, thirty-four million, four hundred thousand dollars), which translates to $660,800,000.00 (six hundred and sixty million, eight hundred thousand dollars) or N317,845,463,520.00 (three hundred seventeen billion, eight hundred forty-five million, four hundred sixty-three thousand, five hundred twenty naira) at the rate of USD1/N480 in LOST revenue from July 2016 – May 2021 a period of 59 months.

Kanu said the plan was sabotaged by entrenched interests.He also accused Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman of refusal to comply with terms of Arbitral Rulings. He provided more damning details on related matters for the attention of the panel

Newsdiaryonline could not obtain a copy of Hadiza’s response to the Panel, if any yet, on Kanu’s mind-blowing petition.

However, in her reaction to several reports after her suspension as MD NPA, Hadiza has persistently denied any wrongdoing.She also accused some sections of the media of a campaign of calumny to tarnish her image