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21 Feb 2018

Reps accuses Atiku, Tinubu’s Intels of shortchanging Nigerians

The House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee investigating the termination of contract between the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Integrated Logistics Services (INTELS) Limited on Wednesday accused INTELS of short changing Nigerians.
Intels, a logistics and facilities services provider in the maritime and oil and gas sectors, was co-founded by Gabriele Volpi, an Italian national, and former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar.


Atiku has since sold down most of his interest in the company to the former Lagos State governor and APC national leader Bola Tinubu.

Chairman of the House ad hoc committee, Rep. Pally Iriase, who made the accusation at a public hearing on the probe, alleged that INTELS had been short changing the government in its remittance of revenue.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the management of INTELS did not turn up for the public hearing, except for its legal supervisor, Mr Irabor Kenneth.

Iriase, who is the Deputy Whip of the House, expressed concern that officials of INTELS failed to attend the hearing.


He described the action of INTELS management as an affront on the National Assembly.

According to him, this is an indication that the company, based on evidence before the House committee has been exploiting loopholes in the existing contract with the NPA to deny the government legitimate revenue.

“With what we are hearing, it is very clear that INTELS is very comfortable with what they are doing by short changing Nigeria.

“By the time we are through, they will know not to treat the National Assembly with levity and disdain,’’ he said.


The lawmaker said that the committee would visit the Onne Port in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State to ensure that INTELS was not flouting the contractual agreement in terms of revenue generation because of the face-off with the NPA.

However, an attempt by Kenneth, INTELS legal supervisor to represent the company’s management was rebuffed.

The committee said that it would rely on the written memorandum submitted by INTELS to make its recommendations to the House.

In her presentation, the Managing Director of NPA, Mrs Hadiza Usman, disclosed that INTELS owed the government 19.9 million dollars as outstanding revenue collected out of an initial amount of 48 million dollars.

The NPA chief executive said that the 48 million dollars was the amount INTELS ought to have remitted to the government between November 2016 to Dec. 2017.

She added that INTELS had paid 28.1million dollars out of the original debt, while another payment of 14.5 million dollars was awaiting official confirmation.

According to Usman, disagreement with INTELS stemmed from the company’s refusal to comply with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) mandate of the Federal Government.

Usman added that after the threat to terminate the contract based on advice from the minister of justice, the company apologised and had since 2017 commenced payment of all monies collected as revenue into government’s coffers.

NAN

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