The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee investigating the termination of contract between the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Integrated Logistics Services (INTELS) Limited on Wednesday accused INTELS of shortchanging Nigerians.
The chairman of the committee, Pally Iriase, at a public hearing on the probe alleged that INTELS was not making full remittance of revenue due to the government.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that only the legal supervisor of the company, Irabor Kenneth, honoured invitation to the hearing.
Mr. Iriase, who is the Deputy Whip of the House, expressed concern that officials of INTELS failed to attend the hearing.
He described the action of INTELS management as an affront on the National Assembly.
According to him, the absence of the officials was an indication that the company, based on evidence before the committee, had been exploiting loopholes in the existing contract with the NPA to deny the government legitimate revenue.
“With what we are hearing, it is very clear that INTELS is very comfortable with what they are doing by shortchanging Nigeria.
“By the time we are through, they will know not to treat the National Assembly with levity and disdain,’’ he said.
The lawmaker said that the committee would visit the Onne Port in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State to ensure that INTELS was not flouting the contractual agreement in terms of revenue generation because of the face-off with the NPA.
However, an attempt by INTELS legal supervisor to represent the company’s management was rebuffed.
The committee said that it would rely on the written memorandum submitted by INTELS to make its recommendations to the House.
In her presentation, the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Usman, said INTELS owed the government 19.9 million dollars as outstanding revenue collected, out of an initial amount of 48 million dollars.
She said INTELS ought to have remitted the 48 million dollars to the government between November 2016 to December 2017.
Mrs. Usman added that INTELS had paid 28.1million dollars out of the original debt, while another payment of 14.5 million dollars was awaiting official confirmation.
According to the NPA boss, disagreement with INTELS stemmed from the company’s refusal to comply with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) mandate of the Federal Government.
Mrs. Usman added that after the threat to terminate the contract based on advice from the Minister of Justice, the company apologised and had since 2017 commenced payment of all monies collected as revenue into government’s coffers.