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$200m Scandal: Reps declines to reinstate contract of Atiku’s Intels

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The House of Representatives on Tuesday rejected the recommendation of its committee that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) reinstates its contract with Intels, a logistics maritime operator.

The House said the company which reportedly made infractions on the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of the federal government, disrespected the legislature by shunning the probe instituted in 2017.

Recall that the House of Representatives had in October 2017 set up an ad-hoc committee with a mandate to investigate the process that led to the termination of the contract between NPA and Intels, a company substantially owned by Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the impending general elections.

The committee chaired by the Deputy Chief Whip of the House, Mr. Pally Iriase (APC, Edo) had laid the report of its investigations on the 12th December 2018.

During consideration of the report today, it was found out that the committee, among others, recommended that “the notice of termination of contract agreement should be formally withdrawn since Intels Nigeria Limited have complied with the Federal Government Policy on Treasury Single Account (TSA).”

Other recommendations include: “that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and INTELS Nigeria Limited should sign the new Standard Operating Procedure in the Supplemental Agreement, which should be in the best interest of Nigeria;

“That a schedule for the repayment plan for the amortization policy should be proposed and signed by both parties within one month upon the adoption of this recommendation;

“That NPA should henceforth adhere strictly to the provisions of the Nigerian Ports Authority Act in the administration and management of its operations; and

“That the Ad-lzoc Committee and the Committee on Legislative Compliance should ensure strict implementation of the above recommendations.”

But speaking against the report, Mr. John Dyegh (APC, Benue) said Intels is owing the federal government over $200million and that executives of the company also failed to appear at the hearing. He therefore called for the rejection of the report.

He said: “Intel is owing the federal government $200million and we have not seen any evidence that they have paid the money, according to the report, everyone came for the public hearing, except Intels.

“You don’t have respect for the House, for the committee, but you want benefit from the House, I urge the House to reject this generous report.”

Also opposing the report, Sodiq Ibrahim (APC, Adamawa) said “the contract was terminated on the principle of not remitting $200million, and the committee is recommending that Nigeria should go back into agreement with them?

“I think the House should step down the report, and rework it, a pro Intel report.”

In his reaction to the contributions on the report, Mr. Iriase agreed that the report should be reworked adding that the House committee with legislative oversight over NPA should join his panel to conduct a holistic investigation into the relationship between NPA and Intels.

Recall that when the motion on the contract termination was moved in 2017 the debate was politicized as some PDP members viewed it as a political attack on Atiku. During today’s proceedings however the report was rejected unanimously.

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