At NPA, No Victor, No Vanquished: Hadiza Bala-Usman Cleared, Removed; Bello-Koko Now Substantive MD

todayFebruary 16, 2022

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•Amaechi gets his way

Kasim Sumaina

The nine months investigation into alleged financial improprieties at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), came to a close yesterday with a win-win verdict handed all the parties involved.

Report of the 11-man committee, headed by the Director of Maritime services in the Ministryof Transport, Suleiman Auwalu, cleared the former Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman of any financial improprieties.

At the same time, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, confirmed the appointment of Mr. Mohammad Bello-Koko, as the substantive MD at NPA, thus indicating that the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, eventually had his way in the agency crisis, especially, over allegation of insubordination against the former MD.

Bello-Koko was the executive director, finance & administration of NPA, had been acting managing director until his confirmation to replaced Bala-Usman, who was suspended for alleged financial impropriety and insubordination.

A statement by the ministry, dated February, 15th, 2022, and signed by Eric Ojiekwe, the Director, Press and Public Relations of the Ministry, stated that the appointment tookimmediate effect.

The statement read: “The President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, has approved the appointment of Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko as the substantive Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority.

“Prior to this appointment, Mr Koko was the Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the Authority. This appointment takes immediate effect.”

The president had on May 5, 2021, approved Bala -Usman’s suspension following a recommendation by Amaechi, who subsequently inaugurated an 11-man investigative panel to probe the NPA over contracts awarded since 2016, when Bala-Usman was made its managing director.

Bala-Usman was initially accused of failing to remit the operating surplus of NPA to the consolidated revenue fund (CFR), an allegation she denied.

Also, Amaechi had during an interview with Arise News Channel, denied knowledge of Bala-Usman’s suspension, stating that she was only asked to “step aside” pending the conclusion of the probe on NPA.

However, the report of the committee, which handed a no winner, no vanquished verdict, has vindicated everyone, with respect to the issue and thus resting the nine months old investigation.

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