DG lobbies Buhari; Spends N79 Million On Letter-headed Papers
- Col. Hamid Ali Awaits EFCC Chair
- Tompolo’s Security Contract Renewed For $2.5Million
There are strong indications that the embattled Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi has intensified his lobby within the political hierarchy of President Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) to retain his position.
Meanwhile, he has secured the approval and disbursement of N2.9 billion from former President Goodluck Jonathan for the agency. Seven different approvals amounting to this sum were swiftly granted by Jonathan in a space of four weeks in the month of April, 2015.
Surprisingly, one of the contracts was the alleged payment of N79 million to a phoney company for the printing of 50, 000 copies of NIMASA corporate letter-headed paper and another N75 million for sea protection levy certificates.
Yet another surprise was the approval of USD6.58 million (N1.5billion) for the payment of an alleged phoney contract of Maritime Domain Awareness System contract renewal paid to one Kleyman Mirad BTS Ltd, while the sum of USD2.5 million (N550million) was paid for the 2015 annual Satellite Surveillance Systems subscription contract. N18 million was paid for the printing of security documents and N30 million for the printing of administrative and operational documents, while the sum of N447 million was paid to an undisclosed contractor to enhance the implementation of International Ships and Ports Facility Security (ISPS) Code in Nigerian ports facilities.
Also, the sum of N318 million was approved for the agency to address capacity gaps in the maritime industry.
However, MMS Plus Weekly gathered that Akpobolokemi who was told by one of his supposed helpers to jettison his ambition of retaining the position of the Director-General and lobby for a reduced jail term in the new administration, was subsequently informed of the in-coming Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as Col. Hamid Ibrahim Ali (rtd), a Kano prince who was a one-time military Governor of Kaduna state. He is currently undergoing the State Security Service (SSS) screening in preparation for his appointment.
Never the less, all the payment approvals were got through the office of the National Security Adviser, Col. Mohammed Dasuki (rtd) except that of the printing of administrative documents and letter headed papers which passed through the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) which declined to give the approval sought by NIMASA through the Federal Ministry of Transport. That notwithstanding, NIMASA had its way at last.
In disobedience to the extant Public Procurement Act 2007, NIMASA awarded the N78, 750, 000 .00 contract of printing a corporate letter-headed paper to one Messrs. Kalamazoo Security printing Limited. They were to print 50, 000 copies, while another company, Elgan Integrated Limited was equally paid N75 million to print sea protection levy certificates.
NIMASA had through the Minister of Transport in a memo dated January 29, 2015 requested the BPP to grant due process “No Objection” for selective tendering method for the printing of the security documents which it turned down on the grounds that there is the existence of Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc whose responsibility include printing of government security documents. But NIMASA went ahead with the contract insisting that the documents would be embedded with security features in line with the requirements of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
In a letter dated 29 April, 2015 from the office of the National Security Adviser, addressed to the DG, NIMASA entitled: RE: Satellite Surveillance System Yearly subscription Renewal, signed by Col. N. Ashinze for NSA, president Jonathan approved the payment of USD2. 509, 500. 00 ”to Messrs. Kleyman Mirad BTS Ltd for the payment of yearly subscription for the satellite system project.”
Justifying this payment, Akpobolokemi stated: “The system was designed taking into consideration, known problems in the maritime sector of other regions and nations in addition to Nigeria’s peculiar nature. Some of the great features it has include: Ship to ship contact alert, ability to see beyond the territorial waters of Nigeria.”
Jonathan equally in a letter dated 29 April, 2015 approved the sum in the nation’s maritime administration preparatory to the IMO audit scheme.
According to the Director-General, the fund was to implement the various programmes required to prepare the agency for the NIMASA’s pre-audit activities.
Akpobolokemi in his letter seeking the approval of N447 million for ISPS Code facility upgrade in Nigeria, stated, “We wish to bring to the notice of the NSA, the fact that the agency has recorded significant strides and success story as evidenced by the local and international community including the report issued by United States Coast Guard (USCG) reports in terms of the current status of ISPS code compliance in Nigeria.”
However, a stakeholder who prefers anonymity said, “This is fraud at an unprecedented level. There is absolutely nothing to show for those expenditures. ISPS Code and VIMSAS were just smoke screens to steal money. The involvement of Bureau of Public Enterprises was to give the transaction the semblance of authenticity.
“The bureau is a creation of the presidency and it takes instructions from the presidency. The information is that the fraud was an orchestration to siphon money from NIMASA for Jonathan’s election. There is no proof of any procurement or work done. Nigeria is a jungle, GMB must move swiftly to arrest the thieving DG of NIMASA and all the EDs especially one Captain Bala Agaba who arranged all the deals. This is classified information and highly confidential.”