The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has said that it would aggressively pursue and ensure the payment of about $19 million of its money being owed the Authority by Heritage Bank.
The Managing Director of NPA, Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman disclosed this at a luncheon with the media to mark her 100 days in office last week in Lagos. She said that she had asked for the details of about N400 million of the agency’s money trapped in Aso Homes to enable the agency recover the money.
Usman stated that the information at her disposal didn’t expressly mention Aso Savings Limited, but she said that she had asked for a letter which would supply the details of the transaction to enable her follow up for the release of the said money.
According to her, “N400 million was trapped in Aso Savings, we are working to see how we can get that out. It will help if we can have a letter, I have asked for a letter which will say what the account was for, when it was opened, the account details and we will be able to follow suit.
“During the submissions, they didn’t clearly say Aso Savings Limited, they said Aso Homes. So, I had asked that they provide the exact name and the proper detailing on the account opening so we can pursue it in the same manner we are pursuing our money in Heritage Bank. We have indebtedness in Heritage Bank, they have paid certain amount of money but we have about $19 million still with Heritage Bank.
“We are having meetings with the Central Bank on what we have to do to get the monies returned to the coffers of the government. I am sure you recall that when we took office we discovered this amount of money that has not been swept into the Treasury Single Account by the Heritage Bank. We are still pursuing it aggressively to ensure that those monies are returned to us”.
The NPA boss further revealed that the agency had a huge debt profile which ranged over ten years saying that the agency currently had N10 billion of indebtedness and $585 million of indebtedness.
“Some of these indebtedness are debts that are considered bad debts but we need to go through the legal process of considering them and classifying them as bad debts and taking them out of our books.
“We also have debts of lease agreements that we have, tenancy payments that are accruing over a period, NPA has continued billing for leases of land in a situation where the lessee are unable to get access to their property. When you do not have access to the piece of land that is leased to you, you are unable to make payments because you are not utilizing that and NPA continues to put that amount and bill the entity and consider it as debts.
“These are debts that we are working on removing by revoking some of the lease allocations because fundamental to lease is the fact that the lessee has to be able to take occupation. You should not lease a land that is encumbered by encroachment, you should not lease a land that is encumbered due to topography and you bill that person for those leases. That is not a very responsible thing to do”, she said.