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Tinubu told to sack NPA boss despite being cleared by NASS

Earlier in December 2023, the NPA boss faced the Senate panel of inquiry, giving clarification on the debt sum of N1 billion, which the committee said was not clarified in the report of the Auditor General of the Federation.

President Bola Tinubu and Mr Mohammed Bello-Koko, Managing Director, Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA). [Getty Images/Daily Trust]

This allegation comes after the House of Representatives committee on public petitions dismissed a petition against Bello-Koko over an alleged ₦178 billion debt.

The petitioner demanded, among other things, that NPA’s management explain why the debt had increased from ₦135 billion in 2018 to ₦178 billion in 2024.

However, The Cable reported that at the public hearing in February, no group representative appeared before the committee to defend the allegation levelled against NPA and its managing director.

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Meanwhile, in a fresh call for his dismissal, a group of civil society organisations, Vanguard For New Nigeria (VNN), has written to the President, Bola Tinubu, calling for the immediate sack and prosecution of the NPA boss.

VNN expressed dissatisfaction that despite several reports indicting the NPA boss and several invitations extended to him by the Senate that he did not honour, he has continued to enjoy political cover, shielding him from sacking, arrest, and prosecution.

While stating that the decision to pick Muhammed Bello-Koko to head the Nigerian Ports Authority is a case study, Vanguard for New Nigeria noted that a series of corruption scandals in the agency under him have deterred foreign investors from choosing Nigeria as a destination.

Detailing a series of corruption allegations under the NPA boss, VNN said, “On October 6th 2021, the famous online paper Premium-times provided detailed analysis on offshore companies and properties run by the NPA head Bello Koko titled “Inside the Secret offshore companies, London properties of NPA Chief, Bello-Koko.

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“According to Premium Times investigation, Bello Koko “is involved in offshore shenanigans, hiding behind two shell companies incorporated in a tax and secrecy heaven to anonymously invest in the United Kingdom to protect the market, potentially violating Nigeria’s public service code of conduct laws .”

“Again, on November 27th 2022, Sahara Reporters also published an investigative report released by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission in which the EFCC has established a case of fraud against Bello Koko.”

Earlier in December 2023, Daily Trust reported that the NPA boss faced the Senate panel of inquiry, giving clarification on the debt sum of ₦1 billion, which the committee said was not clarified in the report of the Auditor General of the Federation.

The clarification also addressed the $852,093,731.10 mentioned in the Auditor General of the Federation’s report being circulated in the media, stating that $232,354,156.43 of this amount had been recovered.

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Bello-Koko, appearing before the committee, noted that the House Committee on Public Accounts had thoroughly reviewed the funds during the 9th Assembly and had cleared the Authority of any wrongdoing.

He further explained that the discrepancy between the Senate and House of Representatives Public Accounts Committees stemmed from the repeated mention of amounts dating back to before the 2006 Concession of the Authority.

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