Hadiza Bala Usman, the former managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), has been cleared of allegations of failing to remit N165bin operating surplus to the coffers of the federal government.
However, the 11-member committee set up by the ministry of transportation to probe the alleged fraud decided to shift its attention to allegations of insubordination to Rotimi Amaechi, the minister.
She was accused of ignoring ministerial directives and communicating directly to the president.
When Amaechi reportedly presented the report to Buhari and asked for permission to remove Usman based on “insubordination”, the president refused to give approval but instead directed the minister to issue a query to the former NPA MD.
Presidency sources revealed that Amaechi said Usman had already defended herself before the committee, but Buhari insisted that she be allowed to respond to the report before any further action is taken.
“A visibly disappointed Amaechi then directed Magdalene Ajani, the permanent secretary, to issue the query,” the source said, adding that Buhari refused to be presented with a “fait accompli”.
Conspicuously missing in the 10 items of query is the original reason for her suspension — the allegation that N165bn was not remitted to the treasure single account (TSA) which made the headlines.
QUERY AND REPLY
An official of the ministry of transportation, who spoke to TheCable but pleaded to be “shielded” for fear of victimisation, said Usman responded to the query within one week as stipulated.
“She said that she did not have access to some important documents because she was on suspension but I would say she did justice to the query,” the official said.
Mohammed Bello-Koko, who acted as NPA MD during her suspension, was a bank’s accounts officer to the Rivers states government when Amaechi was governor.
Bello-Koko was on Tuesday officially appointed the MD.