Thursday, May 30Nigeria's Authoritative Maritime News Magazine


As the controversy surrounding her book “Stepping on Toes” in which she made scathing remarks about former Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi rages, fiery maritime Journalists and Publisher of Shipping World Magazine, Asu Beks, has fired back at the former Nigerian Ports Authority Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman,saying she got booted out of office for acts bothering on gross financial impropriety and insubordination.

Asu Beks and two other Journalists had last in 2021 dragged President Muhammadu Buhari , Attorney General of the Federation, Hadiza Bala Usman and two others before an Ikoyi High Court, presided over by Justice Garba Ringim over her premature reappointment and her flagrant abuses of the Public Procurement Act .Said Asu in a statement in Lagos weekend said,”This book at best can be described as an attempt by Hadiza Bala Usman to launch herself into fiction writing or better still, an attention seeking exercise to curry favour from the President Elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. According to reliable sources , Hadiza has reportedly been lobbying for a Ministerial job under the BAT administration.

The former Shipping Editor of the defunct National Concord advised Sen Bola Ahmed Tinubu to be weary of her antics and that there was no guarantee that she would not end up blackmailing him if she didn’t get her preferred appointment.

Asu Beks challenged Hadiza Bala to defend the massive fraud uncovered by the Auditor General’s query of 2019 on flagrant violations of the Public Procurement Act under her watch as Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority. It will be recalled that Elder Asu Beks, Tompra Abarowei and Miebi Senge had in a suit no FHC/L/CS/485/2021 filed at an Ikoyi High Court, presided over by Justic Garba Ringim challenged the powers of President Muhammadu Buhari to unlawfully constitute a new Board for the NPA and reappoint Hadiza Bala Usman for another five year tenure in clear violation of the NPA Act. Mike Ozekhome, SAN , who filed the suit on behalf of the plaintiffs in April 2021 had asked the court to declare the composition of the Board as well the re appointed Hadiza an illegally. But in a sworn affidavit filed at the Court in defence of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami,deposed that ‘the question of alleged extension of tenure before the expiration of the 5 year tenure of the 3rd defendant (Hadiza Bala Usman) has become more academic since the 3rd defendant is presently suspended from office by the 1st defendant (President Muhammadu Buhari) and is being investigated for criminal allegations ‘. And based on the outcome of the Ministerial committee appointed to investigate her tenure, Hadiza Bala Usman was found guilty on more than 20 counts bothering on financial impropriety and gross insurbordination leveled against her by the Ministerial panel.

For on section 2.0 , which is a” summary of the Ministry’s case in respect of the infractions committed during the tenure of Ms Hadiza Bala Usman as Managing Director, NPA”, the panel observes that “the circumstances and events that culminated in the suspension of Hadiza Bala Usman as MD NPA resulted largely from the blatant disregard of the fundamental relationship between the FMT and the NPA under her leadership.

It must emphasized that this memo cannot contain every single case of infraction by the suspended MD in her running of the NPA . On the other side of the coin, the FMT equally has a good record of the suspended MD, NPA to communicate directly with the Presidecy, National Assembly, the Bureau of Public Procurement and the Infrastructure Concessions Regulatory Commission, ICRC among others. There were several cases of Hadiza bye passing her supervising Minister and relatting directly with Mr President. In some other she had upturned Presidential approvals duly obtained by her . But reliable but unconfirmed sources revealed that south and got the approval of her 5year tenure extension without the consent of her supervisory Minister. With regard to the 2019 Auditor General’s query, it was revealed that a monumental fraud running into billions of naira was uncovered under her watch. Majority of the findings as unearthed by the Audit query, accused her of ” betraying public trust by refusing to remit VAT deductions running into billions of naira into the Federal Inland Revenue Service. For instance , the query highlighted an unremitted deductions to FIRS to tune of N3,667,750,470, $148,845,04, Euro 4,891,449.50, £252,682,14(see Auditor General of the Federation query of 2019). According to findings, “the Audit team reviewed the Authority’s policy on Corporate Social Responsibility projects and programs and discovered that records relating to CSR fell short of the level of compliance with the Public Procurement Act of 2007.For instance, while the NPA spent N286.4m in 2017, the figure rose sharply to N2.49billion in 2018, according to the report