Paris MoU Moves Palau and Vanuatu to the Black List

  • As FG appeals Saraki’s acquittal; says its unreasonable

The Paris MoU Committee has adopted new performance lists for flags, moving Palau and Vanuatu to the Black List from the Grey List.

Additionally, the Republic of Korea, which last year was on the White List, was moved to the Grey List, while Saint Vincent and the Grenadines moved from the Black List to the Grey List.

The new performance lists, which were adopted following the approval of the 2016 inspection results at Paris MoU’s 50th meeting in May, will take effect from July 1, 2017.

A total number of 73 flags are listed on the White, Grey and Black (WGB) List for 2016, 42 of those are on the White List, 19 on the Grey List and 12 on the Black List.

The WGB List is based on the total number of inspections and detentions over a 3-year rolling period for flags with at least 30 inspections in the period.

Furthermore, the Committee has been closely monitoring the performance of classification societies acting as Recognised Organisations, ROs, for flags. A minimum number of 60 inspections per RO is needed before the performance is taken into account for the list. In 2016 there are 33 ROs recorded on the performance list.

Compared with last year’s performance level, this year none of the ROs have been placed in the very low performing part of the list. Four ROs have been placed in the low performing part, against 1 last year, and 19 ROs have been placed in the medium part of the list, compared to 22 last year.

In the meantime, the Federal Government, on Tuesday, filed 11 grounds notice of appeal against the June 14, 2017 judgment of the Code of Conduct Tribunal which acquitted Senate President Bukola Saraki of 18 counts of false asset declaration and other related offences.

The charges were preferred against Saraki, a former governor of Kwara State, in September 2015.

The CCT, in Abuja, had, on June 14, 2017, discharged and acquitted  Saraki of all the 18 charges.

The two-man panel of the CCT, led by its Chairman, Danladi Umar, unanimously upheld the no-case submission which Saraki filed after the prosecution closed its case with the fourth and the last prosecution witnesses testifying on May 4, 2017.

There were 48 documentary exhibits tendered in the course of the trial.

Umar, in his lead ruling, exonerated Saraki of all the charges on, among other grounds, that failure of the prosecution to invite Saraki for interrogation was fatal to the case.

In its notice of appeal, the Federal Government stated that the judgment “effectively” overruled previous decisions of the Court of Appeal delivered with respect to Saraki’s trial and other criminal cases.

“The judgment of the lower tribunal is unwarranted, unreasonable and against the weight of evidence,” the notice of appeal read in part.

The notice of appeal was signed by the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), and an Assistant Chief State Counsel in the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Pius Akutah.

Describing the judgment as “unconstitutional and without jurisdiction”, the appellant stated that the CCT erred in law by upholding Saraki’s no-case submission “when the onus of proof” was on the Senate President to show “that there was no infraction in the Code of Conduct Forms.

World Maritime News with additional report from Punch