EXCLUSIVE: Intels formally begs Nigerian Ports Authority, pledges compliance with TSA

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Intels office building (Photo Credit: The Guardian)

About three weeks before the Nigerian Government ordered expatriates working for Intels Nigeria Limited to leave the country, the embattled logistics company had written the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA apologising and stating its readiness to comply with the government’s Treasury Single Account policy.

The move was apparently aimed at resolving the business dispute that climaxed in the termination of the company’s lucrative pilotage contract by the government.

However, its decision to seek was not enough to remove Intels from the complex web of problems it faces with the Nigerian authorities, including the NPA, the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, and the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority, OGFZA.

The NIS, had, mid-November, revoked the resident permits of Intels’ expatriates and asked them to leave Nigeria by November 30 or risk forced ejection.

According to the NIS, that decision followed the withdrawal of operational licenses of Intels by the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority, OGFZA for alleged infractions, including operating without valid licence, dodging asset audits and failure to settle certain statutory financial obligations with the agency.

Intels denied the allegations and accused OGFZA of efforts targeted at tarnishing its corporate reputation and destroying its businesses.

Intels’ faceoff with OGFZA could be seen as an offshoot of the company’s dispute with the NPA.

Intels, before the termination of its contract, was a concessionaire with the NPA, to provide management services as a developer under the OGFZA law, including collection of revenues on behalf of government for goods and services shipped into the country through the zone.

However, before the NIS’ decision to order its expatriates out of Nigeria, as a consequence of withdrawal of its operational licences by the OGFZA, Intels had approached the NPA in readiness to comply with the TSA directive, which is the major cause of the crises.

In the Intels’ letter of October 25, seen by PREMIUM TIMES, a director, Silvano Bellinato, an Italian, conveyed the apologies of the company’s chief executive, Gabrielle Volpi, also an Italian, to the NPA’s Managing Director, Hadiza Bala-Usman, and stated readiness to comply with the TSA policy, notwithstanding the initial standoff.

“Our Chairman, Mr. Gabrielle Volpi, has apologised for the miscommunication and misunderstanding so far – given the complexity of the matter pertaining to, from one side, the important and continuing role played by the Intels Group through the years in the service of the Nigerian Ports Authority and, on the other hand, the necessity for the NPA to have all the money related to the boat service activity conveyed to into the Treasury Single Account, TSA,” wrote Mr. Bellinato.

The letter was dispatched three days after this newspaper’s exclusive report that the NPA had not been notified of the company’s readiness to shift position apparently after realising Mrs. Bala-Usman would not bulge, even despite threat of litigation.

Before that report, Mr. Volpi had personally issued an apology and expressed commitment to the TSA directive – but then NPA told PREMIUM TIMES that the Authority was not aware of the businessman’s action.

Since June 2016, NPA and Intels have had disagreement over the TSA, which climaxed in the former finally terminating the latter’s contract on October 10.

Intels, in various letters seen by PREMIUM TIMES, said it was unable to comply with the TSA policy because it had loan commitments with some commercial banks guaranteed by the deposits that NPA directed should first go to TSA.

Before the dispute and the eventual contract termination, Intels held the concession to collect revenue on behalf of the NPA.

But officials said the new management of NPA under Mrs. Bala-Usman insisted on TSA compliance to ensure transparency so that the Authority knows what actually comes in as revenue before sharing among parties based on the agreed-upon terms.

The authority expressed fears that the company could under-declare revenue collection before effecting payment to NPA, hence, the demand that all revenues first to go into TSA before sharing.

Amid several tension-soaked meetings and exchange of aggressive correspondences, with Intels insisting the TSA directive would be “a run of our financing” and NPA saying “the policy is sacrosanct”, the company, in June, instituted litigation against the Federal Government of Nigeria and the NPA over another matter: de-categorisation of ports, a move that in effect meant breaking the monopoly of Intels over the Onne Port.

But the standoff notwithstanding, it is clear Intels is ready to salvage its fortunes, heavily dependent on the contracts with the NPA in its latest letter signed off by Mr. Bellinato.

The letter noted that the company is now ready to abide by the TSA directive.

However, the company sought the cooperation of the NPA to ensure its share of the revenues, “first conveyed into the TSA” is paid to the company in good time to avoid possibility of crisis with its bankers.

“Consequently,” continued director Bellinato after the apologies, “without prejudice to our signed agreements, Mr. Volpi, on behalf of our board, has directed we pay all proceeds relating to the pilotage services into the TSA held in the Central Bank of Nigeria as you have directed, while the NPA will then pay all the receipts due and payable to our company within seven working days -as you have promised, on the back of an irrevocable payment standing order to be issued by the CBN to give comfort to our bankers who have financed the infrastructure we continue to provide to the NPA.”

With the expression of readiness, Intels asked that an agreement be signed between its representatives and the NPA’s with “the aim to achieve mutual business satisfaction” and assurance of getting what is due to the company is paid in a good time, after the TSA with the CBN is credited.

“We believe that an irrevocable confirmation of payment of the Central Bank of Nigeria serves the purpose and adequately safeguards the demands of our bankers and auditors, in order to meet mutual interests and requirements,” the letter added.

But despite the letter of commitment, it does not appear authorities are still disposed to continue doing business with Intels, co-founded by former Vice-president Atiku Abubakar.

At least, after expression of readiness to comply with the government’s directive, its operational licence under the OGFZA law was withdrawn and consequently the NIS asked its expatriate workers to leave.

In any case, it is not certain yet what decision the NPA will take, after Intels’ expression of commitment.

Officials of the NPA declined comment when contacted on the matter.

PREMIUM TIMES, however, understands NPA has not conveyed any decision to Intels since the former received the latter’s letter almost one month ago.


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  • Kez Ebed

    Just a signal to the beginning of the end. Does AUN have expatriate personnels? Hope they pay their taxes if any!

    • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

      Lol

  • Suleiman Alatise

    No longer business as usual.

  • Netanyahu

    But these foreigners (Lebanese, Indians, Chinese, crooked Italians etc) really found Nigeria a fertile ground for exploitation. Of course they collude with dubious Nigerians close to the seat of power to perpetuate these impunity. Now, monkey don go market and may not return. Intels should be flushed out of Nigeria. I thought it was all witch-hunt because Atiku was coming out to contest in 2019.

    • Sam

      Thanks for at least admitting. Some of knew that Atiku is a wheeler dealer , people like him should never be allowed to get near power again .

    • Suleiman Alatise

      Really! Did you post this? No, someone has stolen Netanyahu’s identify.

      • whereto

        Hahahaha…….. Leave the man o. I thank him for this sound contribution.

        • Suleiman Alatise

          Honestly, the guy has come to his real sense, many more like him will follow sooner than later.

          • whereto

            Considering where we are coming from, it was always going to be a long hard road. The level of cynicism and disinformation was such that many decent people were bound to be misled. Many will come around when they see the progress which is happening slowly but surely.

    • wanwa

      Ain’t you ashamed Jona could not do this?

      • Julius

        Nope..he is just as dell as Jonathan !

  • TOBBY777

    The pdp is accusing Buhari of crumbing Atiku business for being an opposition while the company is now begging the government agreeing to comply with our laws. I respect Buhari more after this issue cause for him to put his feet on the ground and implement the laws not minding the implication of Atiku going home. Intel should not only comply with the directive they should also remit all monies they have collected unbehalf of the government. WITHOUT LOVE, LIFE IS A MISTAKE.

    • SayNo2Tribalism

      It is already too late, they are a monopoly anyway.

    • persona

      Did you notice that the report doesn’t carry not a single time the name of Atiku?
      This is zero sum game…should Atiku lose or win, Intels will be in business.
      ATiku has said clearly that Intels is his cash cow and yet, he fought tooth and nail for over 1 year to reach the same agreement that NPA gave him?
      Clearly, the NPA MD has shown that she is tougher than the earlier corrupt men. Its why PT is burnishing the person of Atiku that i don’t yet get.

      • TOBBY777

        If you had read my comment you would have seen when I clearly stated that the pdp is accusing Buhari of attacking Atiku´s busness. I know Intel will be in business even if Atiku join his accestors at a ripe old age, but that has nto change the fact that the company should meet our laws. WITHOUT LOVE, LIFE IS A MISTAKE.

    • chiemex

      Tinubu is also one of the owners of Intels, he has 6% of the company,
      Atiku has 11%. So your man is also involved, not only Atiku.

      LOL

      • TOBBY777

        I am not interested on who owns the company, they should pay our money or face the laws. Buhari should be commened for this bold move cause the former chair person of EFCC told the world she was sacked for refusing to stop investigating somebody the presidency calls their own. WITHOUT LOVE, LIFE IS A MISTAKE.

  • Shahokaya

    All the corrupt foreign companies that think Nigeria is still under the rule of the fantastically corrupt buffoon should have are rethink now. The experience of MTN and now Intels is a pointer to what will happen to others that break ours laws.

  • Hassan Lawal

    …..thank God for this Hadiza , if not for this fierce lady, left to those goro -eating Malams that headed NPA before,they would have taken bribes long ago from those dirty Italians and looked the other way…

  • Tha HU

    Really proud of Hadiza Bala Usman for not budging against policy. This is how its done

  • luvnaija

    End all monopoly in our ports.

  • persona

    Intels is trying to play a double game here.
    The supposed rapprochement is to make FG appear as victimizing the company after they have “repented”. The bigger question is, why did it take the company 1 year to do the right thing?
    NPA even agreed to facilitate their payment within 7 days, it was rejected but now they want the same terms?
    Clearly, the other game is this, Intels is banking that should Atiku win or lose, they will be in business.
    I am still intrigued why PT is sponsoring a write up against FG because they seem to have more materials from Intels than FG and that is not fair reportage anymore…it looks like an attempt to remove Atiku from Intels and now Italians are being sent away and we ask for FDI? Its a useless zero sum game from PT and i am disappointed.

  • Holy truth

    Atiku is d most is one of d most wicked & corrupt pple in naija same as bukola sarafraud. Atiku as a former nigerian customs boss is so greedy dat at d tap of his fingers all monies meant 4 d govt will disappear without trace. Dis same Atiku was d one aiding & abetting d vaswani brothers to defraud nigerian govt of billions of dollars in tax evasions & bringing substandard Honda cars into Nigeria b4 obj made sure those criminals Indians called vaswani paid all dat were due to Nigeria govt & kicked dem out of naija. Dat was d main cause of Atiku was opposing obj b4 D same Atiku was caught in d webs of Halliburton’s bribe scandals. There are many more corrupt scandals dat Atiku is d architect of dem all. D same Atiku is d man behind dis Intel scandals, d same Atiku wants to be d president of Nigeria, what a country?!!!
    With Atiku as a nigerian president, Nigeria will just disappear into d thin air.

    • chiemex

      Tinubu is also one of the owners of Intels, he has 6% of the company,
      Atiku has 11%. So your man is also involved, not only Atiku.
      Lol

      • Julius

        lolz, Tinubu must have left your mother on the side of the road. Everything na Tinubu fault..Na him no give una referendum.

  • Isaac Azor

    I’m just proud of Hadiza. Wish we have many of her type spread across all ministries and departments at the Federal and State levels.

  • Julius

    I remember some moronic Buhari haters telling us that the FGN is after Atiku because he is declaring to run for the presidency . As usual, they have nothing to say now . smdh !

    • Holy truth

      Dey are just spineless haters, dey can’t survive without corruption. Dey only show love when u turned blind eyes towards corrupt practices & starts cheering u. Buhari is hated bcos he is blocking all free access to make corrupt riches.

      • Julius

        No mind the deranged haters. Haters will always hate, that’s the meaning of their lives !

    • chiemex

      Tinubu is also one of the owners of Intels, he has 6% of the company, Atiku has 11%. So your man is also involved, not only Atiku. lol

      • Julius

        Who da hell told you that Tinubu is my man or you are just flapping your mouth like a toothless dog as usual. ? Does him being “my man” shield him from paying or refunding what belongs to all of us ? Moron, that’s the difference between your lying delusional self and I.

  • Afo

    This contract should be open to all competent contractors especially Niger Delta people and Nigerians for fresh bid so as to reap from the advantages of competitive bidding. Intels has wickedly shortchanged this country for a very long time and we need to earn proper value for this contract which should be fully accounted for. God bless Nigeria.

  • Fada4Life

    End monopoly of a company controlling the country wealth, this cannot be allow in their own country……… previous NPA chairmen should be investigated to see why Intel has not being complying with the TSA directive, other companies should be given opportunity to compit