Illegal Bunkering: Navy hands over MTs Aisha, Hauwa to EFCC

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…As AfDB approves $50m for Commerzbank to address Africa’s trade finance***

The Executive Officer of NNS Delta, Navy Capt. Festus Adewuyi on Thursday handed over two impounded ocean-going vessels, the MT Aisha and MT Hauwa to the officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Warri, to EFCC on behalf of the NNS Delta Commander, Commodore Ibrahim Dewu.

Addressing newsmen, Adewuyi said the impounded vessels were laden with about 120 tons of product suspected to be illegally refined Automated Gasoline Oil (AGO).

He said the vessels were seized in February 2016 within the NNS DELTA areas of responsibility.

He explained that the suspects on board ships had since been handed over to the police for prosecution after due interrogation by the Navy.

Adewuyi said the handing over of the seized vessels to EFCC was in line with directives from the Naval headquarters.

“The Nigerian Navy has been given the mandate to apprehend any ship suspected to be carrying out illegalities in the Nigerian maritime domain.

“However, by law, we are not allowed to carry out prosecution of offenders.

“We are directed to handover seized vessels to the EFCC for further investigations and possible prosecution.”

Mr Richard Ogberaga, leader of the EFCC team from the Benin Zonal office, assured that the commission would conduct thorough investigation into the matter.

“We will carry out thorough investigation with a view to determining the level of involvement, content of the vessels and prosecution of those involved in the crime,” he said

The officials of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) took samples of the content of the vessels for further laboratory analysis.

Meanwhile, the Board of Directors, African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved 50 million dollars unfunded Risk Participation Agreement for Commerzbank to address Africa’s trade finance market.

The bank announced this in a statement signed by its Principal Communication Officer, Mrs Olivia Obiang on Thursday in Abuja.

The bank said the risk participation would leverage Commerzbank support to African issuing banks seeking to expand their trade finance operations.

“The facility will help address trade finance market demand in key economic sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing.

“It will also foster financial sector development, regional integration and boost government revenue generation.’’

The statement also quoted the bank’s Financial Sector Development Director, Stefan Nalletamby as saying “Commerzbank was a strategic partner for implementing the bank’s development mandate.’’

Nalletamby said the intervention would improve market access by African issuing banks, corporate and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

He said most African banks were small and struggle to obtain adequate trade finance facilities from international confirming banks to support African importers and exporters.

Nalletamby said the bank’s addition depended on the use of its “AAA” credit rating to provide comfort to Commerzbank to increase its trade finance exposure to local African banks.

“The portfolio of trade transactions support will represent various economic sectors. The facility is thus well aligned with the bank’s strategic priorities, the High 5s that are aimed at transforming Africa.

“The Risk Participation Agreement will run for three years as a 50/50 risk sharing arrangement.

“Counting rollovers, it is expected that the facility will support approximately 700 million dollars of trade in Africa over the period.

“This will be the AfDB’s second Risk Participation Agreement with Commerzbank, a major player in the global trade finance market with a significant Africa footprint.’’