The Civil Society Network Against Corruption has warned the Federal Government and the Nigerian Ports Authority against signing any new contract agreement with Dredging International (Cyprus), a firm indicted in a $20m bribery case in Switzerland. It was alleged that the firm bribed some ex-officials of the NPA.
The Managing Director, NPA, Hadiza Usman, had disclosed that she was seeking the opinion of the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, on the authority’s continued relationship with the firm after it was reported that it had bid for a new dredging contract with the NPA.
Usman said Dredging International had said that the bribes were given to facilitate the payment of their invoices which the NPA officials had reportedly refused to sign and which were accumulating huge interest in the banks.
The CSNAC in a statement by its Chairman, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, questioned the rationale behind the legal advice when the company had already been convicted in Switzerland since 2012.
He said, “Nigeria sanctioned Halliburton and Siemens in the past for their roles in bribery cases and prevented them from participating in contract implementation. It is curious how the NPA is framing excuses for purported involvement of the indicted company in the bidding process for the new dredging contract.
“The action runs contrary to the anti-corruption mantra of this government and is capable of sending a wrong signal of endorsing bribery to the international community.”
Suraju also called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission not to allow the case to be swept under the carpet, adding that the agency should move quickly and take immediate action against those involved in the bribery case.
He pointed out that the slow action of the EFCC was capable of compromising the anti-corruption war, which was the cornerstone of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
He added, “For an administration that prides itself in fighting corruption, leaving a case like this inconclusive and allowing investigations to drag on forever goes against everything this administration has been preaching since its inception.
“The EFCC must ensure that investigations reach a logical end and those found guilty are made to face the full wrath of the law.”