The management of the Calabar Channel Management (CCM) Company has said that attempts to link the 2019 Imo State Governorship Candidate of the All progressives Congress (APC), Senator Hope Uzodimma to the botched dredging of the Calabar Channel are politically motivated and diversionary to the real issues at stake in the project.
Managing Director of the company, Mr. Bart Van Eenoo told reporters in Abuja at the weekend that Niger-Global Engineering & Technical Services is only a member of the consortium with equity in CCM and though Senator Hope Uzodimma was its Director, he relinquished the position for politics in 2011 and attempts to link him to the dredging are uncalled for.
He said the Nigerian Ports Authority should be held responsible for whatever lapses that have occurred in the dredging as “NPA has 60% shares in the CCM consortium while the rest members have 40%”.
Eenoo challenged the NPA to make public the report of the forensic audit carried out on the dredging since 2017 to know whether any dredging activity was carried out or not instead of the current blame game and aspersions on the distinguished senator.
The MD said “whatever payment that was made to CCM, it was done in accordance with the terms of the contract and that NPA participated in all the works done by our company as its-NPA’s Project Resident Hydrographic Surveyor and Technical Auditors on the project-CARES Ltd were always on board the dredgers working on the project and issuing certificates of payments for work done only after verification that what we presented tallies with the work done and in accordance with the Joint Venture (JV) agreement. No advance payment is allowed or paid to CCM at any given time”.
He advised the NPA top management and others out to politicize the project to consult sincerely with its technical team which is made up of professionals well trained in the industry; and stop politicising the issue and casting aspersions as all the equipment and personnel deployed for the project under the JV Agreement are currently on ground, accruing demurrage.
Justifying further that work done he said the Nigerian Navy provided security for the expatriates on board the dredging and the equipment used.
He reiterated that for the records, the entire project for the management of the Calabar Channel followed due process, as the NPA openly advertised for the establishment of a Channel Management Company for the Calabar navigation channel which Niger- Global Engineering and Technical Company Limited, duly bid and won leading to the establishment of Calabar Channel Management with a Joint Venture (JV) Agreement with the NPA on a 60%- 40% equity basis.
Eenoo implored the NPA and other interested parties to stop playing politics with the project and misinforming the public on the true position of things.
“It is absurd that someone can accuse our company of “a bogus scam” when our partners- Boskalis and Westminster Dredging, internationally acclaimed companies are involved. All the stakeholders at the Calabar Port including the NPA’s Station Manager in Calabar then, had alluded to the fact that CCM carried out appreciable work on the dredging until the disruption of work by the NPA. Even some of the stakeholders were always aboard the dredgers during the cause of the dredging to have a feel of the work done. It is therefore, not correct that we did not carry out any dredging at the Calabar Channel”, he added.
Meanwhile, it was reliably learnt that the former Director-General of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Dr. Emeka Eze in whose tenure it is alleged that the BPP advised against the setting up of a management for Calabar Channel, has debunked the claim, saying that the BPP issued a ‘No Objection’ certificate for the project which he duly signed.
It would be recalled that the Senator Hope Uzodimma Campaign Organisation recently raised the alarm that some prominent but vicious politicians from the South East have ganged up in a plot with Chief Okoli Obono Obla, the Chairman of the Presidential Investigation Panel on Recovery of Public Funds to smear his image.
It said those behind the plot were alarmed and jittery over the prospects of a ministerial appointment for Senator Hope Uzodimma and in their desperation to paint the Senator bad, the politicians have conspired with Chief Obla to resurrect the phoney allegations of non-declaration of assets and non-execution of a $10m NPA contract.