NIMASA Again, Shuns Master Mariner

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  • As Ex-NNPC GMD, Yakubu forfeits N3bn, prepares to face fraud charges

The management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) yesterday, shunned its proposed meeting with Nigeria Master Mariners, for the fourth or fifth time in a role.

It was however, the first time the agency waited for the members of the revered body to arrive the Peterside Dakuku’s Apapa, Lagos office, before being told that the Director General was not around.

“We felt seriously humiliated. It was about the fourth or fifth postponement. And a day earlier, knowing he could postpone it again, we had phoned them, whether they were still working on another postponement, to which they assured us otherwise. So you can imagine our emotion when on arrival, we were told he had gone to Port Harcourt. The DG didn’t have enough respect for our members, at least, to ask one of his people to tell us, that he had gone on political forage to Rivers State”, a source told the MARITIME FIRST, on condition of anonymity.

Senate President Bukola Saraki
Senate President Bukola Saraki

But another member said: “We were lucky, that Capt. Niyi Adeyemo did not go with us. The disgrace would have been monumental”, the respondent disclosed, stressing that some member specifically pleaded with the revered Capt not to honour the invitation, because he knows the NIMASA management has no respect for stakeholders.

The MARITIME FIRST can sincerely recall that the agency management, under Dakuku Peterside  had similarly shunned agreed meetings with the Association of Maritime Engineers and Surveys (AMES), at least, three times, in the past.

But, it was also noteworthy, that the agency always had the courtesy of phoning the members, requesting for one postponement after another, before they arrived Maritime House.

Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara
Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara

An industry watcher, Anthony Emeordi while evaluating the spate of postponements, as a deliberate effort of the agency to consistently avoid a parley with its two key stakeholders, with preponderance of positive multiplier effects, pleaded with the Government to relieve Dakuku of his job, so as to enable him dedicate valuable time to Rivers State politics.

” If the Vice President is going to Port Harcourt, is that any sufficient reasons for him to abandon his core responsibilities in Lagos? Is this the way they are going to run the agency, and Nigerians will enjoy any desirable change? Is this the best that this management can offer Nigeria, even with Buhari’s pledge of thorough service delivery? Or, must we play politics with everything, including the actual agency mandate?”,he asked, wondering if the Taliban would not do better in Afghanistan, than the current NIMASA management, at the end of the day.

When the view of the agency spokesman, Deputy Director, Osamgbi  was sought, he totally declined comment, also shunning all entreaties on his WhatsApp and text messages.

In the meantime, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission will charge a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Andrew Yakubu, for alleged fraud, The PUNCH has learnt.

Also, a Federal High Court, sitting in Kano, presided over by Justice Zainab Abubakar, on Tuesday, ordered the forfeiture of the sum of $9.7m (N2.96bn) and £74,000 (N28.19m) recovered from Yakubu to the Federal Government.

The EFCC had, last week, said it uncovered the huge money, hidden in a bungalow belonging to Yakubu, in Kaduna.

Yakubu was arrested and arraigned alongside the Chairman of Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited, Jide Omokore, last year, but was later converted to a prosecution witness.

With the recent discovery of undeclared funds, sources within the EFCC are now in doubt whether he would remain a prosecution witness.

The source said Yakubu gave operatives the impression that he was broke.

An EFCC detective stated, “Yakubu was reporting to our office in Abuja almost on a weekly basis. Sometimes, he would dress as if he had no money. Imagine our surprise when we stumbled on his loot.”

The detective told our correspondent that the former NNPC boss failed to make a full declaration of his assets when he completed his EFCC Asset Declaration Form A last year.

The source added, “Yakubu is accused of failing to make full declaration of his assets when he completed the EFCC Asset Declaration Form A, which is contrary to Section 27(1) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act 2004 and punishable under Section 27(3) of the same Act.”

When asked whether the commission had been able to determine the source of the recovered funds, the detective said investigations, so far, implied that the money, which Yakubu termed ‘gifts’, were kickbacks.

He said, “The fraud at the NNPC is very deep-rooted. There are various aspects of our investigation but so far, we believe that the monies found at Yakubu’s house are kickbacks.

“You will also recall that the NNPC gets about 445,000 barrels of crude oil per day for the swap deal. Under the swap deal, the NNPC takes out the 445,000 barrels daily to foreign refineries where they are refined.

“Nigeria is supposed to be given petrol, kerosene and diesel in return. However, a large portion of the crude goes missing on the high seas. These have been sources of income for past NNPC top management.”

A report obtained by an American TV station, PBS News Hour, showed that in February 2014 alone, while Yakubu was still in charge of the NNPC, out of 32 ships carrying Nigerian crude oil, about 19 didn’t deliver the same amount of oil they had picked up.

Meanwhile, Justice Abubakar, on Tuesday, ordered the temporary forfeiture of the cash recovered from the ex-NNPC GMD’s residence.

Additional report from Punch