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EFCC to Falae, Odili, Ladoja: refund cash or face trial

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… As Osoba group disowns Falae over N100m donation

All politicians who shared in the allegedly diverted $2.1billion arms cash must return what they got or face trial, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said.

A former Military Administrator of Kaduna State, Gen. Lawal Jafaru Isa, has refunded 60 per cent of the money he allegedly collected from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), The Nation learnt yesterday.

Also yesterday, it was gathered that  Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Publicity Secretary Chief Olisa Metuh had admitted the transfer of N400million into a company in which he has substantial interest.

According to sources, EFCC decided on refund of cash after retrieving some of the memoranda which the embattled former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.), wrote to President Goodluck Jonathan to request for funds.

A top EFCC source said none of the memos seen so far indicated that the funds would be used for political purposes, party funding and the 2015 general election.

Based on the vetting of the memos and disbursement of money to PDP chieftains and other highly-placed Nigerians, the EFCC has drawn the battle line of either “you make a refund or face trial”.

Some of the beneficiaries of the cash include former governors Peter Odili (N100m);  Rashidi Ladoja(N100m), Attahiru Bafarawa(N100m), Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi (N100m), and Jim Nwobodo(N500m).

Others are: Chief Tony Anenih(N260m); ex-PDP National Chairman Ahmadu Ali(N100m); Chief Bode George (N100m/ $30,000), Yerima Abdullahi (N100m); Chief Olu Falae (N100m); Tanko Yakassai (N63m); Gen. Bello Sarkin Yaki(N200m); Raymond Dokpesi, Iyorchia Ayu’s company(N345m); BAM Properties(N300m); Dalhatu Investment Limited(N1.5b); ex-PDP National Chairman Mohammed Bello Haliru, Abba Mohammed, Sagir Attahiru, serving and former members of the House of Representatives(over N600 million); former Chairman of the House of Representatives on Security and Intelligence, Bello Matawalle(N300m); ACACIA Holdings(N600m); Bashir Yuguda (N1,950,000) and many companies.

Based on the vetting, the EFCC is insisting that all those implicated so far must refund the “illegal disbursement” of cash to them or face trial.

A top EFCC source said: “We have conducted a thorough investigation and we have retrieved some of the memos sent to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan by the former National Security Adviser; none of them indicated that the cash should be for political purposes.

“There was never a memo for cash advance for political matters like campaign or election.

“We have also traced some of these funds directly to the accounts of these bigwigs or their proxy companies.

“Having gone far, we are asking them to return these funds or else, we will go after them any moment from now. I think they should respect themselves and make urgent refund.

“In the alternative, we will arrest them and arraign them in court to defend such strange allocations.

“We will retrieve every kobo given out from ONSA. It is insufficient to say somebody gave me this money. Once we trace undeserved public funds into your account or phony and proxy  companies, we will ask for refund.”

Regarding the interrogation of Gen. Isa, the source added: “He admitted collecting money from ONSA and he has refunded 60 per cent of the sum credited to him. I think it should be about N100 million.

“Isa is the only person who has so far refunded money among the political figures who collected funds from ONSA. We have granted him bail to allow him time to source for the balance.”

On the detention of the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, the source said: “So far, Metuh has admitted the transfer of N400 million by ONSA  into a company in which he has substantial interest.

“It is left to him to justify why he deserved such benefit from arms cash. We are still questioning him on other remittances into the company’s account. We are also demanding how he will refund the cash.

“Contrary to the noise outside, we did our homework very well. Anybody we bring to the EFCC this time around, we used to make sure that we have established a case against him.

“So, we don’t invite or arrest on frivolous basis. We do thorough investigation this time around.”

Meanwhile, the Social Democratic Party, SDP, in Ogun State has broken its silence over the controversial N100 million allegedly collected  by its National Chairman, Chief Olu Falae from the former Chairman Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,Chief Tony Anenih, saying, contrary to Falae’s claims of distributing the money to state chapters of the party, it did not get any money from him.

The money was allegedly linked with the $2.1 billion arms fund believed to have been mismanaged by former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki. Falae had admitted receiving N100 million from Anenih.

The party, which was under the control of former governor of the state, Chief Segun Osoba in a statement jointly signed by its Chairman, Olu Agemo and the Secretary, Clement Adeniyi yesterday in Abeokuta, declared that it was never notified of or involved in any negotiation to partner with the PDP or any other party for the purpose of winning the election or maintaining peace during the period as claimed by Falae.

According to the party, ”We were never informed by the National Secretariat of our party of the decision to adopt former President Goodluck Jonathan or any other candidate as the party’s presidential candidate. “That, we were never informed of any donation of funds to the party by the PDP or any other party.

“That the SDP in Ogun State did not receive any financial or campaign logistics assistance from the national secretariat of our party or any of its principal officers.

“That in April 2015 we made our position clear on the sources of our campaign funding through advertisement in the Guardian, Vanguard, Punch and Tribune newspapers of Monday April 20, before the current revelation.

“We plead with our members and supporters who have received this untoward revelation with great shock to remain calm and await the convocation of a general meeting where these issues shall be thoroughly discussed and appropriate decisions taken,” the statement read.

“We assure you that the SDP in Ogun will continue to operate within ethical and moral norms as laid out in the principles of Progressive Welfarism established by our progenitor, Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the struggle to establish an egalitarian, peaceful and equitable nation”, the statement reads.

Nation with additional report from The Citizen 

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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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