OrderPaperToday –The House of Representatives has asked its committee on Public Procurement to investigate the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) over continuous funding of a $195,300,000 security contract with HLS International Limited (HLSI) despite termination of the deal by the presidency.
The resolution followed a motion moved by Benjamin Kalu (APC, Abia) on Thursday.
Moving the motion, Kalu recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari canceled the controversial Deep Blue contract entered into by NIMASA on behalf of Ministry of Transportation with a private company, HLS International Limited (HLSI).
According to Kalu, the company was supposed to supply certain security and surveillance equipment and systems and establish the Integrated national Coastal Surveillance and Waterways Protection solutions with command and control of infrastructure in the nation’s territorial waters.
He further stated, “In addition to the foregoing contract sum of $195,300,000, NIMASA agreed to pay the sum of $19,530,000 to HLSI as Management Training Consideration, further agreeing according to Appendix 4 of the agreement that both sums would be paid in monthly instalments, over a period of 36 months from July 2017 until June 2020, as follows.
Kalu also disclosed that the financial obligation has no appropriation as the agency hascontinued to finance the project illicitly despite the termination of the contract by President Buhari.
“The Deep Blue Contract has since its execution, attracted public outcry regarding the grave national security implications of ceding the patrol of our waterways from the statutory duties of the Navy to a private foreign firm, thereby undermining our national sovereignty and security, following which President Muhammadu Buhari terminated the contract in 2018.
“Despite the foregoing, the Deep Blue Contract has remained illicitly financed with monies neither appropriated nor authorised by the National Assembly.”
He stated that the “continued execution of the Deep Blue Contract outside the appropriation of the National Assembly amounts to fiscal indiscipline, engenders corruption and provides the platform for arbitrariness by NIMASA.”
The lower chamber accordingly resolved to urge the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to halt all payments in relation to the Deep Blue Contract.
It also mandated its Committee on Public Procurement to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the activities of the Federal Ministry of Transportation and NIMASA in relation to the Deep Blue Contract.
The probe is also to cover any diversion of Cabotage Funds and other funds to covertly execute the Deep Blue Contract.