As the investigation into the management of the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) and the step aside Managing Director gathers momentum, the office of the Auditor General of the Federation write to respond to the Ministry of Transportation in a letter dated 16th of April, 2021, seeking for the Remittance of Operative Surplus to the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account (CRF) by the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) from 2016 till date.
In the response signed by the Auditor General of the Federation, Aghuguu Adolphus A., the board with particular reference to paragraph 20 ” annual estimate accounts and audit” the act number 38 of 1999 establishing the Nigerian Port Authority and section 85 of the constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria (1999 as amended) advised as follows;
(I) that the board shall be caused to keep proper account of the Authority and proper records in relation thereto and when certified by the board, the account shall be audited by auditors appointment by the authority from the list and in accordance with the guidelines supplied by the Auditor General for the Federation, (see sub paragraph 2 of paragraph 20 of NPA act).
(ii) nothing in subsection (2) of this section shall be construed as authorizing the Auditor General to audit the account of or appoint auditors for government statutory corporations, commissions, authorities, agencies including all persons and bodies established by an act of the National Assembly but the Auditor General shall:
a. provide such bodies with:
I. list of auditors qualified to be appointment by them as external auditors.
ii. guidelines to the level of fees to be paid to external auditors, and
b. comment on their account and auditors report thereon (section 85 (3) of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended)
In line with (I) and (ii) above, he stated that:
1. the NPA has duly engaged the external Audit Firms Messrs Muhtari Dangana and co. (Chartered Accountants) and SIAO Chartered Accountants.
2. The said Audit Firms audited and published the account of the NPA duly approved by the board for the years ended: 31st December, 2016, 31st December, 2017 and 31st December, 2018 respectively.
3. The audit of 2019 by Messrs Muhtari Dangana and co. (Chartered Accountants) and SIAO Chartered Accountants is ongoing awaiting NPA board’s approval to be published.
4. Also my office has conducted periodic checks for the years 2016 to 2018, and issued periodic checks reports along with comments on their annual account and auditor’s report thereon, and
5. Reputable professional Audit Firms are already being engaged by the board in line with the enabling Act. Hence, no justification for the ministry to advertise and select qualified Audit Firms to conduct the exercise.
He submitted by advising the ministry to abide by the quoted provisions.
This is in lieu of the Ministry of Transportation through the Minister, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, who got the Presidential approval seeking for the financial activities of the Nigerian Port Authority to be investigated for the period 2016 to 2020 to ascertain the true financial position and the outstanding unremitted balance of One hundred and sixty five billion, three hundred and twenty million, nine hundred and sixty two thousand, six hundred and ninety seven naira only (N165,320,962,697).
It could be recalled, that as at the early hours of it yesterday, the President had set up a penal of Inquiry to investigate the active of the management of the NPA for the period under review, while ordering the immediate replacement of the Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman while the investigation last.