Maritime: House Committees On Finance And Ports And Harbour Investigate A Whistle Blower $1 billion Secret Account Allegedly Being Operated By NPA, In Unity Bank plc

By Stephen Ubanna

The Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, under the close watch of Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman, and  her Management Team  have thrown their  weight  behind the proposed investigations of John Okupurhe, a  whistle  blower,$1 billion secret account being operated by the Authority in one of the new generations Banks, Unity Bank plc.

The Authority  may have welcome  the probe  to show that  that it has no skeleton in its cupboard coupled with the letter from the bank last February confirming that such an account does not exist. The Value News learnt that ever since the information leaked  out  about the probe, there have  been palpable calm in  the maritime circles. This is because both the Authority and the bank , had  denied that such an account  does not exist.

A s a prelude to the proposed  House Committees on Finance and Ports and Harbour, planned  Investigation on the alleged $1 billion secret account allegedly  being operated by NPA, in Unity Bank plc,  a motion was said to have been moved at the House plenary session  last  Thursday, presided over by Femi Gbajabamila, the Speaker, to investigate the allegations. The speed at  which  the Lawmakers discussed the motion and  took decision  speaks volume.  With the decision taken  at the  House plenary to investigate the whistle blower’s  allegations, the speaker was said to have referred the  case to House Committees on Finance and Ports and Harbour to Handle.

 John  Okupurhe, the whistle blower, who initiated the all the troubles and his sponsors including the  Civil Rights Organisations , who saw  it as an opportunity to mess up the NPA, under the current Management of Hajia Usman, may have dragged the House into the matter as they could notget the necessary attention from the  office of Abubakar Malami, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Attorney General of the Federation and minister of Justice, for the revelation of the alleged NPA, $1 billion secret account in Unity Bank.

Hajia Hadiza Usman: MD, NPA

The House Committee members mandated to investigate the  alleged NPA $1 billon secret account in Unity Bank were said to have started their underground  investigations by reaching out to their contacts both in NPA and Unity Bank plc, serving and retired  to extract information from them  about the alleged secret account.

Many believe that nothing will come out of the proposed  House Committees Investigation on the alleged NPA $1 billion secret account in Unity Bank as there had been similar investigations carried  out in the past by the  by Ports and Harbour Committee which ended up in the National Assembly shelves.

 Acting on the mandate of Hajia Usman, the Managing Director, Jatto Adams,  an Engineer and the agency  General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications had issued a  Statement over the proposed investigations by the House Committees  on Finance and Ports and Harbour overthe whistle blower’s allegations  $1 billion  secret account against the Authority in Unity Bank. Jatto, had said that ‘’no such accounts exits’’. But this may not be the language the Lawmakers may want to hear, as they may to be seen as  carrying  out one of Constitutional duties of’’ Oversight function’’, to show that they  doing their Legislative work.

 The NPA  spokesperson Statement reads in part  ‘’while awaiting  Communications from the House Committees on Finance and Ports and Harbour, on the proposed investigations,  the Authority restates that  the Unity Bank account  plc, number:0013680344, cited by Okupurhe, the whistle  blower, does not exist as evidenced  in a letter  from the Bank on February 12,2020’’.

 The Statement further stated  that  ‘’ NPA, operates an account with Unity Bank plc, with account number:0013670344 with  a  total sum of $1,057,772.03, as at December 4, 2019 and not $1,034,515,000.00 as alleged by the petitioner.

He was said to have made it clear to those that cares to listen, including the Lawmakers that the NPA account has not been in operation  ‘’since  August  27, 2010 due to a suit No:FHC/L/CS/582/2010 Garnishing Order NIS, in Aminu Ibrahim&Co&ANOR. VS Nigerian Ports Authority. NPA, where a garnishee order was put in place on it following  a case, which went from the Federal High Court to the Supreme Court over a period of eight years.

He noted that  upon determination of the case at the Supreme Court. The judgment creditors continued with the gnarshee  process which resulted in the credit of  the amount  with $1,057,772.03.

Going by the Statement issued by Jatto, the NPA, Image maker, the House Committee members may not really have much work to do as ‘’the account under discussion was said to have been frozen on the strength of Court order in August 2010, following the completion  of the case’’. This may have informed why the Authority $1,057,772.03 was transferred  to the Judgment creditor on December 4, 2019,  in line  with the gnarnishee order absolute.

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