Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko has said that no money is missing from the authority’s coffers contrary to allegations to that effect.

Recall that the Senate Public Accounts Committee PAC had invited the management of the NPA to respond to questions on $1 billion alleged to be missing from the authority by the report of the Auditor-General of the Federation AuGF.

According to a post on his verified X handle @MohdBelloKoko, the Managing Director, noted that bulk of such funds alleged to be missing are bad debts arising from faulty concession agreements signed with some private operators, many of which date back to the pre-2006 port concession era.

He said: “The larger part of the amount in question here is actually not missing; it is more like bad debts— some private concessionaires have been given, say, a 1,000-metre quay length area and a two-hectare staking area for quayside operations. If 200 metres out of the 1,000 metres quay length are defective and unusable, logically, the concessionaire will not pay for the unusable 200-metre area.

“However, the Senate demands the NPA recover the money for this space that was not used. Over the years, these encumbered spaces have accumulated and run into millions of dollars. But literally, they are bad debts that cannot be recovered. Important to note is that some of these debts date back to over 20 years to the pre-concession regime.

“Some of the debts also arose from the defective concession agreement of 2006. Nonetheless, in the reviewed agreement, which will come into effect soon, these defects have been corrected. As I mentioned to the Senate Committee on Public Accounts of the 9th Assembly, we need to write it off our books and start the next year on a clean slate.”

The MD had earlier appeared before the Senate Committee on Appropriations in company of the Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Aderenle Adeshina the Assistant General Manager Budget, to present the authority’s budget performance for 2023 and defended the estimates for 2024.

According to him, remarkably, in 2024, NPA hopes to start the port modernisation process for the existing ports and fix the breakwaters at Escravos.

“This is paramount, as it will help us in achieving maximum port efficiency, improving cargo handling capabilities, and reducing the turn-around time of vessels”, Bello-Koko said emphatically.