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.
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.