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JV partners sanctioned by Swiss court for bribing NPA officials to face EFCC – Bala Usman

Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman, says some of its joint venture partners recently sanctioned in a Swiss Court for bribing NPA officials to defraud the federal government would be prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Speaking on Channels Television in Lagos on Saturday, Bala-Usman said NPA had asked for guidance from the Attorney General of the Federation on its continued relationship with the entities in view of their sanctioning in the Swiss Court for corruption.

Swiss prosecutors had last month named four former Nigerian government officials in a multinational bribe scandal relating to contract awards at NPA.

The former Nigerian government officials were indicted alongside Dredging International, one of the technical partners that was sentenced to a fine of one million Swiss Francs and directed to refund 36 million Swiss Francs in illegal profits for allegedly making the illicit payments to the Nigerian officials.

Dredging International Services is one of the technical partners of Bonny Channel Management Limited (BCML) that runs the Bonny Channel Company (BCC) with the NPA in a joint-venture – public-private partnership.

Bala-Usman said, “Recently we had a situation where one of our technical partners in our joint venture companies was sanctioned in a Switzerland court for being said to have bribed officials of the NPA over a period.

“We have obtained the Swiss court sanctioning and forwarded same to the EFCC for further investigation on the persons and the entities that were said to have benefited from the graft.

“We have also forwarded the Swiss court documents to the AGF office for them to guide us on our continued relation with this entity in view of the sanctioning that it has gotten from the Swiss court for corrupt practices with NPA officials.”

On the measures put in place to fight corruption at the nation’s ports, she stated that, “For every corrupt practice that we identify we forward to the EFCC to investigate and determine what prosecution process they will embark upon”.

“When we identify a legal concern whereby there is a lack of clarity on the role of government or there is a seeming disadvantage that has been provided to the Nigerian people, we have forwarded to the Antony General to provide legal guidance on how we can exit some of these relationships.

“A lot of the corruption practices that we have identified within the port operation are attributable to certain contractual obligations the NPA has entered with entities whereby the federal government is shortchanged.

“We are working at reviewing such agreements and we are working on terminating some of the agreements. We have reached out to the relevant agencies and communicated our position on this.”

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