By Jonathan Ugbal
The Managing Director of the Calabar Channel Management (CCM) company limited, Bart Van Eenoo has said that the CCM is not aware of the termination of the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) between the NPA and a consortium of companies led by Niger Global Engineering and Technical Company Limited (NGETCL) contracted to dredge the Calabar Channel.
Mr. Eenoo was reacting to reports credited to the Managing Director of the NPA, Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman, to the effect that the NPA has terminated the JVA with NGETCL due to violations of the public procurement act where he said though they are yet to receive official correspondence to that effect, it was necessary to state that the contract bidding and subsequent award followed due process reports THISDAY.
He said the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) vide a letter referenced BPP/S.1/CID/14/VOL.1/088, dated August 15, 2014 and signed by the then Director General, Mr. Emeka Ezeh, approved the project.
Eenoo said the letter titled: RE: Contract for the Maintenance Dredging Between Niger-Global and Technical Company and the NPA, reads: “This is to refer to the Federal Ministry of Transport letter Reference No.TPROC/NPA/P/67/2011/1/314 dated August 11, 2014. The Bureau has no objection to the implementation of the project as approved by His Excellency, Mr. President.”
According to the MD, what the NPA MD is probably relying on is an earlier response by BPP to an initial petition by the former Board Chairman of the NPA to the presidency against the project which the President then, referred the matter to the BPP which after evaluating the matter gave the ‘No Objection Certificate’ and advised that the complaint by the former board chairman was merely a personal difference which it said should not affect the integrity of the project. The former chairman also wrote to withdraw the petition.
The CCM boss stated that the contract went through the necessary approvals and vetting by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice before it was finally sealed; and challenged the NPA MD to make public the purported letter from the BPP advising against the contract.
In any case, he said, there is a clause in the contract stating grounds of termination which CCM has not violated and the NPA cannot wake over night to terminate it.
“Is the NPA now above the presidency, its supervisory ministry-Ministry of Transport and other statutory bodies that it can wake one night to say it has terminated a contract vetted and approved by these bodies? This is a huge joke,” he stated.
Further, the MD said the NPA which is the majority shareholder in the Joint Venture with 60 per cent stake has not paid his salary and those of the other staff of CCM for over three years and it cannot terminate the contract on the pages of newspapers.
He urged the NPA MD to stop the continuous media trial of CMM and do the needful for the dredging to continue by “paying our invoices to enable us resume operations because all the equipment and personnel deployed for the project under the JV Agreement are currently on ground, accruing demurrage which contractually, the federal government is bound to pay.”