The immediate past Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has shed more light on the ongoing probe of NIMASA by the House of Representatives over alleged award of questionable and phoney contracts, fraudulent forex transactions, lopsided placement of Directors amongst others, stating that some of this occurred before him, during his tenure while others under current DG, Dr. Bashir Jamoh.
Recall that during plenary last week, House Minority leader, Hon. Kingsley Chinda had moved a motion over several allegations of questionable, inflated and fictitious contract award at NIMASA, particularly for non-operational speed boats, security surveillance contracts and Deep Blue project.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Tribune Online at the weekend, the immediate past DG of NIMASA, Dr. Peterside stated that, “I have gone through the allegations of probe by the House of Representatives, and can say confidently that some happened before my tenure as DG; some happened during my tenure as DG, while some happened after my tenure as DG.
“Now, to break the allegations down, concerning with-holding of Remita revenue by some companies, this happened before I became DG of NIMASA. The companies involved include Gas Shipping Nigeria Limited, Daddo Marine Limited, Blue Seas Marine Services, Transocean Support Services Limited. This withholding of Remita revenue happened before I became DG of NIMASA. These are issues that we have dealt with before now.
“The lawmakers also talked about Valuation of Procurement Act. The lawmakers said some companies breached procurement process. This happened under the current DG of NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh, even though I don’t think it’s true. The companies involved include COT Engineering Limited, Well Mann Construction Company Limited, Retin Technical and Commercial Service Limited, Messrs. DePK Ventures Limited, amongst others.
“The lawmakers also talked about foreign exchange, but you know we don’t deal with foreign exchange. Maybe the lawmakers are not aware that since TSA began, NIMASA cannot deal with foreign exchange again. Since TSA, foreign exchange goes directly to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“Again, the lawmakers raised issues concerning lopsided placement of Directors at NIMASA. This happened under current NIMASA DG, Bashir Jamoh. There was no allegation of lopsided placement of Directors under me as DG of NIMASA.
“On the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure otherwise known as Deep Blue project, it all happened under me, and I don’t think there is anything illegal about the project. Even the current President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu invited me to thank me for the Deep Blue project.
“I want anybody to come out and tell me one single thing that is wrong with the Deep Blue project. Today, piracy in our waters has been reduced drastically thanks to the Deep Blue project.
“Are the aircrafts not there? Are the vessels not there? Are the 17 intervention vessels not there? Did the project not pass through due process? Was it not approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC)?
“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) investigated the Deep Blue project and gave us a clean bill of health, so what is the lawmakers talking about?
“On the six intervention vessels, it started under me and continued under current NIMASA DG, Bashir Jamoh. Now, NIMASA has gone to buy the vessels because without vessels, the agency cannot carry out its enforcement responsibilities.
“NIMASA’s primary role is enforcement of safety. NIMASA is a safety agency that has enforcement of safety as its primary responsibility. Every other role is incidental.
“How can NIMASA enforce if it doesn’t have vessels to go and meet the ships for inspection? Any ship that comes into our waters, NIMASA has to check whether they have the right license; whether they are manned by the right persons; whether they have the right engines onboard? And whether they have the right maintenance record. All this, NIMASA cannot do if it doesn’t have intervention vessels.
“Before we approved purchase for the six intervention vessels, NIMASA had hired a private firm, Global West Vessel Specialist Ltd to help it carry out enforcement purposes. This was before I became DG of NIMASA.
“However, along the line, the EFCC seized assets belonging to Global West Vessel Specialist Ltd. Thus, before I became NIMASA DG, the agency was not doing enforcement because most of the assets under Global West Vessel Specialist Ltd had been seized by the EFCC.
“I expect NIMASA to respond to these allegations because some happened under the current NIMASA management. After their response, I will now issue an official statement on the matter.”