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EFCC plots long jail term for jauro

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  • Slams Him With 19-Count Charge Over N156m Fraud 

Nation’s anti-graft body, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) on Tuesday slammed a 19-count charge bordering on stealing on the former Acting Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Haruna Baba Jauro,  alleging that Jauro collected and pocketed N156,477,500 as conditional gratification to keep mute and watch Patrick Akpobolokemi have free access to play with NIMASA funds.

Jauro has allegedly refunded N35m to  the Government, being part of the money he obtained from Mr. Akpobolokemi.

Specifically, Baba Jauro who was arraigned for stealing and money laundering alongside his company, the Thlumbau  Enterprises Ltd and his brother-in-law Dauda Bistrus Bawa were dragged before Justice C.M.A Olantoregun of the Federal High Court Lagos.

The EFCC said it unveiled Mr. Jauro’s sin,  while investigating the former Director General,  Akpobolokemi and subsequently arrested Jauro too.

The EFCC said it successfully traced the money into Jauro’s company account, Thlumbau Enterprises Limited, overseen by his brother in-law, also arraigned.

A glimpse into the charge sheets showed that one of the charges read:  “That you Haruna Baba Jauro, Dr Dauda Bistrus Bawa and Thlumbau Enterprises Limited on or about the 6th day of January 2014, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this honorable court did conspire among yourselves to commit an offense to wit: conversion of the sum of N156,477,500 ( One Hundred and Fifty Six Million, Four Hundred Seventy Seven Thousand, Five Hundred Naira Only) property of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, knowing that the said sum were proceeds of stealing and thereby committed an offense contrary to section 18(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act”.

All the accused persons pleaded not guilty and were each granted a N5m bail, with two sureties in like sum.

The sureties must however be resident within the jurisdiction of the court and must present tax clearance for the last three years. Further hearing was adjourned to May 16th, 2016, when actual trial is also expected to begin.

Rotimi Oyedepo, the prosecution counsel did not oppose the bail application filed by the counsel representing the accused persons.

Meanwhile,  in a related development, the EFCC also arraigned Alu Dismas, personal assistant to Patrick Akpobolokemi , Calistus Nwabueze, Executive Director, NIMASA and two companies: Grand Pact Limited and Global Seal Investment Limited, on eight count charge of stealing and Money Laundering before Justice Olantoregun.

Mr. Calistus as Executive Director, was said to have received the total sum of N136,105,000 (One Hundred and Thirty Six Million, One Hundred and Five Thousand Naira ) from Akpobolokemi.
The second accused person, Alu Dismas who was personal assistant to Akpobolokemi also received various sums of money.

One of the charge against them reads: “that you Calistus Nwabueze and Dismas Alu on or about 5th day of August 2014 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this honorable court did conspire among yourselves to commit an offense to wit: conversion of the sum of N111,000,000 (One Hundred and Eleven Million Naira ) property of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency knowing that the said sum were proceeds of stealing and thereby committed an offense contrary to section 18(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.”

The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charge. And were admitted to bail in the sum of N5,000,000 (Five Million Naira Only) and two sureties in like sum. The case was adjourned to May 16 for trial.

A Maritime lawyer who spoke on conditions of anonymity highlighted that the way the EFCC was going,  it was like the body was actually plotting for long jail term for anyone convicted.

With additional information from Premium Times. 

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WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners

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…Stresses the need for timely disbursement of N44.6billion CVFF***

Highly revered Nigerian Maritime Lawyer, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Igbokwe has urged the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) to partner with ship owners and relevant association in the industry to evolving a more vibrant merchant shipping and cabotage trade regime.

Igbokwe gave the counsel during his paper presentation at the just concluded two-day stakeholders’ meeting on Cabotage waiver restrictions, organized by NIMASA.

“NIMASA and shipowners should develop merchant shipping including cabotage trade. A good start is to partner with the relevant associations in this field, such as the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA), Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Oil Trade Group & Maritime Trade Group of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

“A cursory look at their vision, mission and objectives, show that they are willing to improve the maritime sector, not just for their members but for stakeholders in the maritime economy and the country”.

Adding that it is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a through briefing and regular consultation with ships owners, in other to have insight on the challenges facing the ship owners.

“It is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a thorough briefing and regular consultations with shipowners, to receive insight on the challenges they face, and how the Agency can assist in solving them and encouraging them to invest and participate in the maritime sector, for its development. 

“NIMASA should see them as partners in progress because, if they do not invest in buying ships and registering them in Nigeria, there would be no Nigerian-owned ships in its Register and NIMASA would be unable to discharge its main objective.

The Maritime lawyer also urged NIMASA  to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)that currently stands at about N44.6 billion.

“Lest it be forgotten, what is on the lips of almost every shipowner, is the need to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (the CVFF’), which was established by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003. It was established to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity, by providing financial assistance to Nigerian citizens and shipping companies wholly owned by Nigerian operating in the domestic coastal shipping, to purchase and maintain vessels and build shipping capacity. 

“Research shows that this fund has grown to about N44.6billion; and that due to its non-disbursement, financial institutions have repossessed some vessels, resulting in a 43% reduction of the number of operational indigenous shipping companies in Nigeria, in the past few years. 

“Without beating around the bush, to promote indigenous maritime development, prompt action must be taken by NIMASA to commence the disbursement of this Fund to qualified shipowners pursuant to the extant Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (“CVFF”) Regulations.

Mike Igbokwe (SAN)

“Indeed, as part of its statutory functions, NIMASA is to enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003 and develop and implement policies and programmes which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure. Disbursing the CVFF is one of the ways NIMASA can fulfill this mandate.

“To assist in this task, there must be collaboration between NIMASA, financial institutions, the Minister of Transportation, as contained in the CVFF Regulations that are yet to be implemented”, the legal guru highlighted further. 

He urged the agency to create the right environment for its stakeholders to build on and engender the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders.

“Lastly, which is the main reason why we are all here, cessation of ministerial waivers on some cabotage requirements, which I believe is worth applause in favour of NIMASA. 

“This is because it appears that the readiness to obtain/grant waivers had made some of the vessels and their owners engaged in cabotage trade, to become complacent and indifferent in quickly ensuring that they updated their capacities, so as not to require the waivers. 

“The cessation of waivers is a way of forcing the relevant stakeholders of the maritime sector, to find workable solutions within, for maritime development and fill the gaps in the local capacities in 100% Nigerian crewing, ship ownership, and ship building, that had necessitated the existence of the waivers since about 15 years ago, when the Cabotage Act came into being. 

“However, NIMASA must ensure that the right environment is provided for its stakeholders to build and possess the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders. Or better still, that they are solved within the next 5 years of its intention to stop granting waivers”, he further explained. 

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Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live

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The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: www.maritimefirstnewspaper.com and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured

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…As Valles Steamship Orders 112,000 dwt Tanker from South Korea***

A wind farm supply vessel and a cargo ship collided in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday leaving 15 injured.

The Cyprus-flagged 80-meter general cargo ship Raba collided with Denmark-flagged 31-meter wind farm supply vessel World Bora near Rügen Island, about three nautical miles off the coast of Hamburg. 

Many of those injured were service engineers on the wind farm vessel, and 10 were seriously hurt. 

They were headed to Iberdrola’s 350MW Wikinger wind farm. Nine of the people on board the World Bora were employees of Siemens Gamesa, two were employees of Iberdrola and four were crew.

The cause of the incident is not yet known, and no pollution has been reported.

After the collision, the two ships were able to proceed to Rügen under their own power, and the injured were then taken to hospital. 

Lifeboat crews from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service tended to them prior to their transport to hospital via ambulance and helicopter.

“Iberdrola wishes to thank the rescue services for their diligence and professionalism,” the company said in a statement.

In the meantime, the Hong Kong-based shipowner Valles Steamship has ordered a new 112,000 dwt crude oil tanker from South Korea’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering.

Sumitomo is to deliver the Aframax to Valles Steamship by the end of 2020, according to data provided by Asiasis.

The newbuild Aframax will join seven other Aframaxes in Valles Steamship’s fleet. Other ships operated by the company include Panamax bulkers and medium and long range product tankers.

The company’s most-recently delivered unit is the 114,426 dwt Aframax tanker Seagalaxy. The naming and delivery of the tanker took place in February 2019, at Namura Shipbuilding’s yard in Japan.

Maritime Executive with additional report from World Maritime News

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