The federal government has asked the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to void the boats pilotage agreement it has with Integrated Logistics Services (Intels).
Intels, a logistics and facilities services provider in the maritime and oil and gas sectors, was co-founded by Gabriele Volpi, an Italian national, and Atiku Abubakar, former vice president.
THISDAY reports that Abubakar Malami, attorney general of the federation (AGF) and minister of justice, said the contract was void ab inito.
He is said to have relayed the government’s decision to Hadiza Bala-Usman, managing director of the NPA, in a letter dated September 27.
The letter was entitled ‘Request for Clarification of Conflict Between Executed Agreement and Federal Government Treasury Single Account Policy’.
Malami said the agreement, which has allowed Intels to receive revenue on behalf of NPA for 17 years, violates sections 80(1) and 162(1) and (10) of the constitution.
The AGF wondered if the management of the NPA and Intels, did not take cognizance of the relevant provisions when negotiating the agreement in 2010.
“The inherent illegality of the agreement as formed has since been expounded by the TSA policy issued by the Head of Service of the Federation on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria directing all ministries, departments and agencies to collect payment of all revenues due to the federal government or any of her agencies through the TSA,” the letter read in part.
“NPA being an agency of the federal government is bound by the TSA policy and has not howsoever been exempt therefrom. Due to the constitutional nature of the TSA, where there is a conflict between the TSA and the terms of the agreement, the TSA shall prevail.
“Therefore all monies due to the NPA currently being collected by Intels and any other agents/third parties on behalf of NPA must henceforth be paid into the TSA or any of the sub-accounts linked thereto in the Central Bank of Nigeria (information of the account will be communicated in due course) in accordance with the TSA policy.
“In the premise of the above, the conflict between the agreement and the TSA policy presents a force majeure event under the agreement, and NPA should forthwith commence the process of issuing the relevant notices to Intels exiting the agreement which indeed was void ab initio.”
The implication of the directive to terminate the agreement is that Intels stands to lose several millions of dollars in commissions for the pilotage services it handles on behalf of NPA on Nigerian coastal waters.
In 2015, Atiku had described Intels, Nigeria’s biggest oil and gas logistics company, as his most successful business. – TheCableng