BusinessDay

NPA says its two dollar offshore accounts approved by government

Following the claim that it has two secret offshore accounts, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has said that it operates two United States dollar accounts that were approved by the Federal Government.

Ibrahim Nasiru, general manager, Corporate and strategic communications at the NPA, who gave the clarification in a statement on Wednesday, said both accounts are transparently run, in accordance with the agreed official safeguards emplaced by the Office of the Accountant General through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of the Federal Government.

Explaining further, Nasiru said the NPA requested approval to open two accounts for the collection of service boats’ pilotage revenue in a letter dated August 26, 2016, and addressed to the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.

“The Accountant General approved the opening of the accounts which were to be opened in Zenith Bank and Fidelity Bank with their correspondent foreign banks as Citibank N.A in London and New York respectively for the purposes of collecting service boats pilotage revenue accruing to the NPA,” he said.

According to him, the revenue was being collected by Integrated Logistics Services Limited (INTELS) on behalf of the NPA as a managing agent, which started in 1996.

Read also: NPA terminates contract with Intels Nigeria, takes over boat service operations

Nasiru said that both NPA and INTELS had access to view the inflow into the accounts for ease of reconciliation, and to enable it to determine real-time the amounts paid by clients as well as the value of invoices to send to the NPA for payment of their management services as agreed in the service boat contract.

“On a monthly basis, hundreds of payments for service boat operations were made directly into INTELS bank account, which INTELS periodically remits a portion to the NPA and retained others as commission on the collection of revenue and cost of Onne phase 4B expansion project,” he said.

He noted that the management of the NPA at a point considered the above practice as being completely at variance with the requirements of TSA policy of Government, which made it mandatory that all revenues accruing to the government must be remitted into one consolidated account in CBN.

He, however, said the NPA had to review the agency agreement it entered into with INTELS, which resulted in opening another revenue account dedicated to the collection of revenue from service boat operations.

While noting that the Mohammed Bello-Koko management runs an administration that gives premium to due process in the execution of its core mandates, Nasiru said there was no how the funds in the accounts could have been secretly diverted or privatised as significant safeguards were put in place by the Federal Government.

He added that there were additional checks mechanisms put in place with the banks to provide internet banking for the service boat revenue collection to enable ‘view-only’ and printing capabilities of the statements of accounts by over 20 top management staff members of the NPA

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