Connect with us

Archives

NIMASA collected revenue in dollars, remitted naira – FG

Published

on

…Federal High Court denies granting Dasuki, others bail

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, on Wednesday, said the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency had not been remitting the revenues generated to the government’s coffers.

The immediate past Director-General of NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolkemi, is currently facing 40 counts of fraud and money laundering to the tune of N34.5bn.

Adeosun specifically stated that in some instances, NIMASA collected revenue in dollars but paid naira into the government’s account.

The minister said this while addressing journalists after the first Federal Executive Council meeting of the year inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

She explained that the requirement was that such money should go to the Central Bank of Nigeria which would convert the money to naira.

Adeosun said while the government had stopped NIMASA from doing so, an audit was being carried out to identify other agencies.

This, she explained, was why the government was doing a full audit of all those accounts and to ensure that all those revenues were converted in accordance with the extant procedures and guidelines.

The minister added that it was also discovered that some of the agencies spent government money without control.

When asked what would be the fate of the heads of the MDAs under whose purview government funds were diverted in the past, the minister said she would not want to pre-empt the outcome of an audit that would be commissioned by the government.

She, however, said that in a situation where it is clear that financial procedures had been breached, there was a process for dealing with the culprits.

Adeosun said, “The principal discussion in our meeting today was the initiative by this administration to plug revenue leakages in our MDAs that generate revenue. The presentation to FEC was to remind ministers who supervise these revenue-generating boards of their responsibilities under the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

“Let me remind you that under the FRA, these boards and corporations who generate revenue are supposed to generate and operate surplus, 80 per cent of which is to be credited to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

“But we have discovered that many agencies have never credited anything and never generated any operating surplus including some whose salaries, overheads and capital are paid by the Federal Government.

“In addition to that, they generate revenue which they spend without any form of control.”

Adeosun said one of the initiatives adopted by the government was the directive to all the agencies that they must all submit a budget that must be subject to approval and they must operate within that budget so that the surplus that is meant to come to the Federal Government could be seen to be used appropriately.

Adeosun ruled out the possibility of any ministry inflating its budget when there was no revenue

She said, “There can be no inflation of budget when revenues are so thin and one of the things that I think that the budgeting process is doing is pruning down unnecessary expenditure.

“Let me also mention that we have set up the efficiency unit that is going to look into how we spend money and look at how we make savings because the money just isn’t there.”

Adeosun said the Federal Government had discovered that many revenue-generating agencies had not been remitting the revenues generated to the government’s coffers.

She explained that these are revenues of government in non-oil economies but the government had not been looking in the direction of the MDAs in the past because the country had a lot of oil money

She disclosed that a circular had been issued to the agencies in their hundreds in December 2015 requesting that they send their budgets.

“What we discussed today (Wednesday) was the responsibility of the ministers to ensure that whether those agencies have boards or not, those budgets are prepared and that the Ministry of Finance is going to sit down with the supervising ministers and the boards concerned where necessary, to go through their budgets and make sure that they are reasonable and that the costs are not inflated.

“We also discussed that in some cases, because some agencies have a track record and history of making sure that every naira they earned was spent, we will go in and audit agencies under Section 107 (8) of the Financial Regulations.

“The Accountant-General, who is under the Ministry of Finance, has the power to go in and make inquiries about how public money is spent, so we will be sending in auditors to some agencies where we believe their cost is simply excessive and not in tandem with our expectations.

“The expected outcome of this is that the Internally Generated Revenue which the new budget is banking on will actually become a reality. So, that was the principal discussion and everybody in the cabinet endorsed the initiative.”

Meanwhile, in a swift rebuttal on Wednesday, authorities of the Federal High Court of Nigeria (FHCN), dissociated the court from media reports it granted bail to the tune of N250 million to the embattled immediate-past National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (reted) and others being tried in relation to the $2.1 billion arms deal scandal.

Acting Chief Registrar of the FHCN, Emmanuel Garko, stated that authorities of the Court could not have granted bail to any of those being tried in relation to the arms deal because none of them was charged before the court.

In a statement issued by Garko, he said the clarification became imperative in view of misrepresentation in the media that the Federal High Court granted bail to Dasuki and others at N250million each.

He said: “It will be in the interest of the reporters and editors (the media) to note that these cases involving the accused persons are not all before the Federal High Court of Nigeria as reported by some national dailies, but before Justice Hussein Baba Yusuf and Justice Peter Affen of the High Court of the FCT.”

Explaining that the Federal High Court of Nigeria is different from the High Court of FCT, which has their respective jurisdiction, Garko however, urged the media to be cautious in their operations and always endeavour to cross check facts before publication. 

However, recall that Dasuki and others were only granted bail on two occasions on December 18 and 21 last year at N250million by Justices Hussein Baba-Yusuf and Peter Affen of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Dasuki is currently involved in three criminal cases pending before the Federal High Court, Abuja and the High Court of the Federal Capital territory (FCT), Maitama, Abuja.

Dasuki is being tried alone on a five-count charge of money laundering involving about N84.6m and illegal possession of firearms before Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

The second case involving Dasuki is that in which he is being tried with an ex-Director of Finance and Administration in the office of the NSA, Shuaibu Salisu and former Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Aminu Baba-Kusa in a 19 count-charge bordering on criminal diversion of funds. Dasuki, Salisu, Baba-Kusa and two companies – Acacia Holdings Limited and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited were charged with conspiracy and criminal breach of trust under the Penal Code Act and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act.

The trial judge, Justice baba-Yusuf admitted each of them to bail in a ruling on December 18 at N250m with one surety and adjourned to January 21 for commencement of trial.

In the third case, Dasuki is being tried with former Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda, former Sokoto State governor, Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa, his son and firm – Sagir Attahiru and Dalhatu Investment Limited – and former Director of Finance and Administration in the office of the NSA, Shuaibu Salisu in a 22-count charge of alleged diversion of over 20billion.

Justice Affen, on December 21 last year, granted bail to each of them at N250m with two sureties and fixed February 2 for commencement of trial. 

Punch with additional report from Vanguard.

Archives

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

Published

on

…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. 

Continue Reading

Archives

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

Published

on

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

Continue Reading

Archives

Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured

Published

on

…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

Continue Reading

Advertisement

Editor’s Pick

Politics