Connect with us

Archives

NIMASA: Omatseye’s Lawyer Urges Court To Quash Charges

Published

on

  • As Donald Trump Takes another swipe at Nigerian leaders again

Former Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Temisan Omatseye’s lawyer has asked the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos division to quash the N216million alleged contract splitting fraud charges brought against his client, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The legal counsel,  Onyeka Edoka made the submission, while giving his final address in a case that has dragged on for six years now.

He maintained that since all evidences before the court indicate that his client did not commit the crime which he is being charged for, more so,  as Temisan had proved beyond all reasonable doubts with facts and figures before the court that he was clean,  the best to do was protect him,  from those seeking to persecute him.

Edoka reasoned that if out of 27 count charges, the 25 which had to do with the approval of contracts awarding above his threshold, the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP)  in a letter to former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2013 had already absolved Temisan, of any wrong doing in the award of Contract in the Agency, he has every reason to plead with the court,  to protect his client.

 “This letter, we had tendered before the Court”, he indicated, pointing out that the letter from the BPP shows that his client didn’t approve above his threshold as charged by the EFCC.

“My client in pushing for due process in the award of contract in NIMASA set up Procurement Tenders  Board (PTB)  to monitor the award of contact”,he noted,  stressing that o,  iin respect of rigging,  the prosecution knew their arguments lacked merit,  as the law understands that the offense could not be single handedly committed.

“My Lord, I refer the court to paragraph 58, subsection 10, paragraph A and B of the Procurement Act which defines what bid rigging is all about.

“My client could not have  committed it alone. The Act States that there must be between two to three people before the case of bid rigging must be established. The prosecution lawyer failed to bring to the court other people involved in the alleged crime. My Lord, in law it does not hold.  Therefore, it should be dismissed “, he argued further. This was agreed to by Justice Rita Ajumogovia of the Federal High Court, Lagos, who is the trial judge.

Rounding up, Edoka reminded the court that some documents before the court against his client were missing, because they were deliberately not provided by the prosecution lawyer who knew that they have no case to answer.

 Godwin Obla, the Economic and Financial Crime, EFCC, prosecution lawyer however swiftly countered this, as he urged the judge to find the accused guilty as charged because the accused approved beyond his threshold of N2.5million and N5million.

“My Lord the evidence brought to the court showed that the contracts were awarded by the accused knowing his limit. He deliberately approved above his limit, throwing to the dust bin, the BPP directive and the submitting legislation”, he said, posting that he should be found guilty as charged.

In the meantime, Justice Ajumogovia has adjourned judgment to May 9th 2016 after correcting  the prosecution lawyer on a number of evidences provided and particularly on section 58, subsection 10 of the Procurement Act.

In another development, Donald Trump, a front-line US presidential contender at the weekend again took yet another swipe at former Nigerian leaders for claiming to be giant of Africa.

According To him, “One of The highest producers of crude oil in Africa without nothing tangible to show for it is Nigeria. 56 years after independence, Nigerian leaders still can’t deliver.”

Trump said “ordinary electricity, water, home-refined petroleum products, transportation – road, rail, water and air – infrastructure.”

Here’s a quote from Donald Trump, a front-line US presidential contender:

“Look at African countries like Nigeria or Kenya for instance, those people are stealing from their own government and go to invest the money in foreign countries.

From the government to the opposition, they only qualify to be used as a case study whenever bad examples are required.

How do you trust even those who have run away to hide here in the United States, hiding behind education? I hear they abuse me in their blogs but I don’t care because even the internet they are using is ours and we can decide to switch it off from this side.

These are people who import everything including matchsticks.

In my opinion, most of these African countries [like Nigeria] ought to be recolonized again for another 100 years because they know nothing about leadership and self-governance.”

Additional report from Upshot

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

Editor’s Pick

Politics