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No Former Minister Has a Hand in Calabar Port Contract, Says TCN

Tuesday, 21 July 2015 | 06:39
Transparency Centre Network (TCN), a group known for accountability, transparency and prudent fund management in public service, has debunked a report published in one of the national dailies, alleging misdeeds in the award of contract for the maintenance and dredging of the Calabar Port in Cross River State by a former minister, explaining that no former minister has a hand in the contract.

The group disclosed on Sunday in a statement which was signed and made available to THISDAY by its National Convener, Umar Faruk, that after carrying out investigation into the subject of the allegation, it was discovered that no former minister as alleged had a hand in flying a top officer in the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) finance department from hospital bed in London to Lagos to perfect arrangements for any payment for the award of a contract to maintain and dredge the Calabar Port, adding: “This is a false and misplaced accusation, wishful thinking from an aggrieved party.

“No past minister had such power and influence on the system. This is a false and misplaced accusation, and wishful thinking from an aggrieved party. It is absurd and ridiculous for anybody to think that a past minister who is no longer in the system could exert any influence when he had no authority what so ever to do so,” the group said.

In the statement, Faruk explained that the past minister involved in the controversy had no personal interest in the project except the repositioning of the maritime sector in line with former President Goodluck Jonathan transformation agenda, stating that there was a maritime retreat in 2012, where the minister was tasked to expand and upgrade maritime facilities in the country including the rehabilitation of Calabar port.

According to him, “There was no wrong doing on the part of the minister as far as this contract is concerned. The Minister worked assiduously and transparently to help the government develop an alternative Port to ease the perennially congested Lagos port. There was a Maritime Retreat in 2012 where the Minister was tasked to expand and upgrade maritime facilities in the country including rehabilitation of Calabar Port. Moreover, Niger Global Engineering, the NPA partner in the Calabar Port Project had been in the maritime system many years before the Minister was appointed “The minster deserves commendation and not condemnation for trying to put life back to Calabar port. We feel it is not a crime for the minster to render patriotic service to his father land by fighting to return Calabar port to life.

“Therefore, we wish to reiterate that due process, equity, justice and fairness were the guiding principles of the establishment of Calabar Channel Management.

“Niger Global Engineering dully bided for this contract contrary to repulsive insinuation that it never did. In the international bid for the management of four channels in Nigeria by MOBOTEK, a Holland firm in 2005, Niger Global Engineering won the bid to manage the port.
Whereas the companies which won the bids for Lagos and Bonny ports started work almost immediately, that of Calabar was stalled.”

They alleged that: “Previous steps were said to be taken to shortchange and edge out Global Engineering and Technical Company Limited (GETCL) but it failed. GETCL followed due processes before getting FEC approval for the signing of contract agreement with NPA.”

TCN said based on its findings, “we want to correct the erroneous impression that the former NPA MDwas sacked because of his refusal to accept and accommodate misdeeds in the contract. This is mischievous lie because the so called past MD, NPA was a core signatory to the contract agreement. He signed because of his conviction that due processes were followed in the contract. Therefore, people should not blame the sack of former MD NPA on Calabar contract.

“The chairman of the NPA Board who raised initial opposition against the contract might have kept quite because TCN gathered that all the issues raised by the chairman were resolved.”
Source: This Day Live
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