CNN reported on how Nigeria is funding a new ports project

Nigeria has reportedly said that it might consider imposing sanctions on CNN over an investigation into the controversial toll gates established at Nigeria’s coastal Lekki and Ajah ports. According to a report from Pulse,…

CNN reported on how Nigeria is funding a new ports project

Nigeria has reportedly said that it might consider imposing sanctions on CNN over an investigation into the controversial toll gates established at Nigeria’s coastal Lekki and Ajah ports.

According to a report from Pulse, the Nigerian Presidency might consider crippling CNN’s operation in the country if it is proven that the CNN Africa investigative programme isn’t trustworthy enough.

The program has accused Nigeria’s current government of mass corruption and mismanagement. The report claims many major Nigerian firms and government agencies carry out illegal deals and front companies to fraudulently inflate costs of infrastructure projects.

The revelations come just a month after Nigeria handed the multi-billion dollar Lekki Deep Seaport project to Dubai-based company DP World after the executive spent years promising a first choice bidder. Nigeria has since been lobbying the World Bank to help foot the bill.

Probe may have found flaws

The report claims that Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, rushed through the Lekki project after critics in the country and abroad questioned the delays that developed the project.

Among the costly yet illegal projects on the long list of projects put forward by the Nigerian government are the $1 billion federal airport terminal in Abuja and the $43 billion Lagos Airport two.

However, Pulse reports that Nigeria’s federal government has confirmed the claims of massive corruption in road projects and may have conducted an audit that uncovered inefficiencies in the country’s federal revenue. A source told Pulse that the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture is conducting a cost audit of all Federal Government road projects worth at least $50 million.

“That’s all what I could say about it (possible sanctions),” a spokesperson for Nigeria’s Ministry of Information and Culture said in a text message. The spokesperson did not confirm whether government officials would face sanctions or not.

This week, a senior director at Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control spoke with Pulse in an interview in which he revealed that his agency had conducted routine audits of Lekki Ports and Lagos airport and had found cost over-runs that breached the 30% threshold set by the law.

“It’s a mess, government money is going down the drain. Nobody is living,” Oluwatoyin Adesoji, director, Capacity Development, told Pulse. “They keep saying to do the right thing, yet people keep jumping on the opportunity to pillage.”

He said that the federal government has an obligation to act because corruption is “impairing its economic interests.”

Fake receipts unearthed

Though Nigeria government officials have vigorously denied any claims of illegal behavior, a senior customs official told Pulse they uncovered documents that may prove the existence of fake tax receipts used to claim the government’s promised tax benefits for investors.

According to the customs official, CNN’s broadcast showed a valid work order authorizing shipment of cement to connect the International Container Terminal of the Lekki Lagos Deep Seaport with the exclusive customs area that services the port. The official said the work order had been fabricated, claiming that it’s common to see fraudulent import tax clearance documents for roads and oil pipelines that didn’t prove the cost of the alleged transaction.

However, the customs official told Pulse that the latest investigation was incomplete, saying that he couldn’t tell how many of the companies named in the report also had legitimate business.

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