Thu. May 23rd, 2024

 

The House of Representatives on Wednesday resolved to Set up an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the alleged fictitious contract awards, Gross mismanagement of Billions of Naira and Lopsided Placement of Directors by the Nigerian Maritime Administration And Safety Agency and report back within three months for further legislative action.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion on the Need to Investigate Alleged Fictitious Contract Awards, Gross Mismanagement of Billions of Naira and Lopsided Placement of Directors by the Nigerian Maritime Administration And Safety Agency (NIMASA) moved by Hon. O. K. Chinda, Hon. Victor Ogbuzor, Hon. Cyril Hart, Hon. Manu Soro, Hon. Manuchim Oowuzuirike during plenary on Wednesday.

Hon. Chinda, while moving the motion, noted that the recent developments in the award of questionable and phoney contracts, fraudulent forex transactions, lopsided placement of Directors and other unwholesome and corrupt practices in the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

According to the motion, “there have been several allegations of questionable, inflated and fictitious contract awards, particularly for non-operational speed boats, security surveillance contracts and Deep Blue Water Contract, revenue leakages and the award of contracts to cronies of the Director General and other top management staff of the agency.”

He raised concern about the alleged under-remittance of debts owed to the country by Shipping firms, with the consent and connivance of the agency.

He further added, “Aware that the agency is alleged to have entered into a very dubious contract with a firm known as XPO Marine Limited’ for the lease of six (6) speed boats, each at the rate of $173,930.00 monthly, without a Need Assessment for such facility being carried out by the relevant departments of the agency, the said XPO Marine Limited had earlier been indicted for defrauding the agency to the tune of $80,000 in revenue.”

“Also aware that the security surveillance contract called Deep Blue Water Contract’ is suspected to be a conduit by the agency’s management to steal funds. A security contract tagged National Integrated Surveillance and Waterways Protection’ is also said to have been awarded to an Israeli firm, HSLI Systems and Technologies Limited, at the cost of $195,300,000 00, despite an existing facility, which is a simple internet subscription via Lloyds Intelligence Platform for such operations.

The lawmaker further said, “cognizant of the fact that the agency is also said to have an existing surveillance system (called Lloyd’s List Intelligence) for tracking the movement of vessels on Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).”

“Also aware of the fact that there is evidence that the agency’s legal department counselled against the consummation of the contract on the grounds of some fraudulent claims in the agreement, but same was not heeded. The facilities claimed by HSL1I are said to be an existing surveillance infrastructure provided by KMBTS Limited, also an Israeli firm whose contract with the agency at the instance of the agency’s former DG had long expired.”

“Further aware of other allegations such as abuse of office and lopsided appointment and placement of Directors of the Agency in favour of some interests to the detriment of others and 1n breach of S. 14(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), as well as other unwholesome practices within the Agency.”

“Again aware of the allegations of high-level corruption against the DG and top management of the agency in the form of withholding of remittable revenue by Gas Shipping Nigeria Limited. Daddo Marine Limited, Blue Seas Marine Services, Transocean Support Services Limited, leading to huge revenue loss to the Federal government.”

“Others are the award of contracts to the DG’s cronies and other top management staff of the agency in clear violation of the Procurement Act and other Financial Regulations. Such companies include COT Engineering Limited, Well Mann Construction Company Limited, Retin Technical and Commercial Service Limited, and Messrs. De PK Ventures Limited, amongst others.”

He, however, revealed alleged cases of round-tripping and under-declaration of foreign exchange earnings from the agency’s foreign Accounts.

“These allegations are grave to be swept under the carpet or dismissed with a wave of the hand, particularly as it relates to economic losses on the part of the government.”

“Cognizant of the need to urgently investigate the allegations and unless and until this is done, the Federal government would continue to lose huge sums of money to an excessive and fraudulent cabal who are hell-bent on sucking the country dry

The Committee is to report back to the House within Six weeks for further legislative action.

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