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Senate investigates BPE’s failure to remit $679.4m realised from ports concession

The Senate on Wednesday expressed anger over the failure of the Bureau of Public Enterprise’s (BPE) to remit the sum of $679.4 million realised from the ports’ concession programme.

The concession involved 23 companies by the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) in the last 10 years, according to the Senate.

The action of the Senate Public Accounts Committee followed the revelation in the 2017 Auditor General of the Federation’s (AuGF) report under consideration in the Senate.

The Committee is chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide

Part of the report showed that 23 companies were granted concession rent for 10 years for annual rent of $679.4m to NPA as far back as December 31, 2016.

The Auditor General of the Federation observed in the query that there was nothing to show that the sum was collected and paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).

The Auditor General had noted that even though this has been communicated to the BPE as at April 2018, no response had been received from them.

The Auditor General said such unremitted funds may be misapplied by the bureau, adding that this may lead to diversion of the funds to other uses.

It had further added that the BPE DG needed to show evidence that the sum of $679,403,172.00 was remitted to the appropriate authority.

But the BPE in response according to THISDAY report said that it was only a confirming party in the concession carried out in 2005, adding that the NPA remained the primary party in the exercise.

According to the BPE, the collection of the concession sum was for the NPA, adding that during the exercise it collected some of the remittance to the NPA.

The agency also said the NPA acknowledged the transfer made in respect of the rentals received on its behalf by the BPE.

The agency disclosed that the revenue beyond 2008 had been paid directly to the NPA and not BPE.

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