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Reps uncover massive fraud at TCN



  • Expect new reforms in civil service-FG

The House of Representatives Committee on Power has queried the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) over alleged mismanagement of about N1.2 billion.

The money allegedly mismanaged by TCN was in two tranches, which included award of N400 million contract to zonal offices of TCN without due process and verbal award of N895 million by the management.

The Director of Procurement claimed that the N895 million contract was awarded verbally without following due process.

The director also told the committee that the contract had other issues as it was split.

He equally said when the issues on the N895 million contract were raised, Manitoba Hydro International (MHI) team that managed contractor for TCN said it was in charge of the project, adding that the TCN tender board then directed that the contract should be re-awarded.

According to her, “when the contract was awarded, I raised the issue at the management level and they told me to keep quiet.

“I raised it with  the board, they advised that they should go and do the needful. I then reminded my colleagues that we should be careful of what they are doing, as they could be recalled five years along the line to account for their action. I never knew that it will come soon. We are being called upon now to account for our action.”

To this end, the committee chairman, Honourable Daniel Effiong, directed the head of procurement of TCN to do a report on the matter, while promising that the matter would be reported to the appropriate government agencies for further action.

On the controversial N400 million contract, the director told the House committee that  the contract was awarded through the zonal offices of TCN, saying that they were paid the money despite the fact that they were only entitled to N2 million threshold.

The Director of Project told the committee that though the contract was awarded two years ago, it was cancelled and re-awarded to the regional managers to handle, due to the failure of the initial contractor.

She also claimed that the regional managers were asked to refund the money again, after a petition was raised against the contract.

To this end, the Minister of State for Power, Alhaji Mustapha Shehuri, pleaded with the committee, saying that the ministry would set up an investigative committee to investigate the allegations.

Meanwhile, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita has said that the Federal Government would soon come up with more holistic reforms in order to reposition the Service for much more effective service delivery.

She noted that one of the key mission of the current administration was to restore the lost glory of the Federal Civil Service.

Mrs. Oyo- Ita who disclosed this in Abuja during a reception organized by her group of friends in honour of her recent appointment as the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation by President Muhammadu Buhari, a statement by the Assistant Director, Media Relations, Mr Mohammed Manga said.

She said that as she settles down in office, she would continue to build on the brilliant ideas of her predecessors in order to move the service forward.

The Head of Service said further that the reforms that are to be initiated by government are aimed at achieving financial accountability, value for money through capacity building and structured training programmes to equip civil servants with relevant skills to do their job diligently and efficiently.

Other areas to be looked into according to her include personnel structure and Performance Management System (PMS) where there would be reward for hard work and effective service delivery and sanctions for poor performance.

She assured that the present administration is committed to the future and welfare of workers, and that is why government has recently inaugurated the Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) programme which is an avenue to enable civil servants own their homes.

Present at the reception were the Executive Governor of Gombe State, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Engr. David Lawal Babachir, four former Heads of Services, Engr, Ebere OKeke; Professor Abraham Afolabi; Alhaji Isa Bello Sali; and Alhaji Bukar Goni Aji.

Also present were some serving and retired Permanent Secretaries as well as members of the Diplomatic Corps.



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



…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



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

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured



…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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