Another $7.5m vessel purchase scan foiled
- NISA members in serial shipping scams
Facts have continued to emerge to the effect that the Nigerian Shipping industry is majorly peopled by scavengers, who are not worth entrusting anything money with; whose business philosophy is “Dog eat dog”, as aptly described by a shipping magnet, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun.
MMS Plus Weekly gathered that defrauding clients and banks as well as other financial institutions have become the rule rather than the exception.
In the last five years, banks have been caught in the web of over-invoicing in ship purchases, a scam often perpetrated to rip-off financial institutions because they lack knowledge of the trade.
MMS Plus Weekly stumbled on a story of how a ship management firm in Lagos saved a second generation bank from being defrauded of USD $7.5 Million orchestrated by a member of the Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), recently through over-invoicing of ship purchase.
Findings have equally revealed that some members of NISA have been involved in a series of ship acquisition and chattering scandals, even to the extent that many members have fallen victims of fellow members’ organized scams, with pockets of court cases threatening the unity of NISA and the shipping community in Nigeria.
Confronted with the allegations of many NISA members involved in shipping business related scams, the president of NISA Capt. Dada Labinjo said, “it is not unusual to have all sorts of fraud coming up in shipping. Shipping is laden with that, it is not new. That there is a bank dispute is part of shipping. What is unusual is screaming headlines alleging crime where none indeed exists. Every transaction is a contract and there is always written in it, “dispute resolution mechanism”.
“I want to kill that story, I don’t want us to ever talk about it. The issue is that it is not strange in shipping to have all sorts of disputes; shipping is characterized by all sorts of disputes and because that is the situation, there is always a dispute resolution mechanism. You have not unearthed anything if you say there is a dispute in shipping operation, the parties know best how to resolve their disputes because before they entered into that relationship. If it is a crime, Nigeria has well established agency for crime related matters. One of them is the Nigeria police, the others are the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the court. All these other agencies can only investigate, only the court can convict. I am still alleged and the constitution regards allegation as unfounded until it is proven. So, how can you now say you expelled somebody who is still innocent?,” Labinjo added.
In this exclusive interview with MMS Plus Weekly to be published next week, Labinjo insisted that he remained the president of NISA because the constitution provides that only two third of the house can remove him at a general meeting, arguing further that some of the current executive members of NISA lack the integrity to determine who is drained of integrity because some of them had been enmeshed in a series of alleged frauds in the past and nobody has convicted them on the surface as done in his case.
He said, “I am the president of NISA and that has not changed. That will only change when the association says it has no confidence in me, that I should resign or they expel me or when my time expires and I am unable to be re-elected, that is when I will cease to be the president of the association.”