It has become common knowledge that Political wrangling is rife in the Transport and Maritime sectors as it is observed and recorded that under the duo of the Minister for Transport, Rt. Hon.Rotimi Amaechi and his lackey, the DG of NIMASA, Peterside Dakuku that there is an ample evidence of the use of power by these government officials for illegitimate reasons and personal gains, practices that have returned in their sectors with unstinted vigor.
These recorded instances of the use of power for personal gains and self aggrandizement by this duo border on cronyism and nepotism that our party APC has come to eradicate in departure from the practice in the previous administration.
There have been reported disregarded cases of extreme cronyism that we can evince from various publications in the national dailies coupled with unassailable accounts which are yet to be refuted by Honorable Amaechi and Dr. Peterside.
In the instance of award of contracts, the international best practices on procurement procedures in a regulated sector like NIMASA have been jettisoned for fraudulent contract award procedures. The relatives, personal friends and political associates of this duo are being rewarded with contracts and appointments in ministries and Agencies respectively.
The most recent example being the termination of the GWVSNL Company where Hon. Amaechi instructed Dr.Peterside to terminate their contract with NIMASA and stopped the payment of their contractual obligation.
The basis of their actions for the termination was based on the impropriety of the award of such contract to a former militant which constituted a breach to our National security, a sentiment echoed and expressed amongst the rank and file of our party members.
However, the moral dilemma of this position and ground now lie in the hasty termination of Tompolo’s contract with over 20 vessels in the inventory of ‘Global West’ which were taken over hurriedly by NIMASA unaccounted. It is apparent that since the cancellation of the said contract, NIMASA has been failing in the exercise of their maritime duties on account of lack of fundamental and requisite expertise, and absence of vessels and the attendant technical knowhow on how to manage the territorial waters under their purview
More worrying than the moral dilemma above is also the flagrant disregard of the trite and established contract procurement laws and procedures in re-awarding the cancelled contract: this same contract was magically re-awarded to a close friend of Amaechi; an APC stalwart, the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Dr. Davies Akanya in anticipation of 2019 Governorship election in Rivers State) without regard to known procurement procedures.
In a futile effort to defend this act, Peterside said, “the contract awarded was not the same but rather it was a debt recovery contract that was awarded to Mr. Akannya’s company”.
Without rebutting the conflict issues raised by the allocation of the contract by NIMASA headed by him, former APC Gubernatorial candidate in River State, his Party Chairman in River state, and I ask, what is the difference here?
I concede that the difference of this contracts are; while the debt recovery and surveillance contracts awarded to the Global West Vessel Specialists Nigeria Limited (GWVSNL) owned by former Niger Delta militant, Government Ekpomupolo, popularly known as Tompolo by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) under the Goodluck Jonathan administration and cancelled by Buhari’s government have now been awarded to SNECOU Nigeria Limited, a company whose beneficial owner is Dr. Davies Akanya, for the benefits of Ameachi.
I submit that the national security threat for which the contract was re-awarded to Dr. Akanya is still present and worse now given that “SNECOU” is just a portfolio company without any known record of experience and expertise in Maritime services.
More also, the irregularity of the award process is further compounded from sources in the agency as reported by “THISDAY Newspaper” of 1st October 2016 where Dr. Dakuku Peterside said, “It is a debt recovery contract different to the one awarded to Tompolo’s company; we are about to issue a statement on that. We awarded a debt recovery assignment which is totally different global feet that Tompolo was doing for NIMASA which took over revenue collection”. That the contract awarded on No-Cure-No-Pay basis was granted without formal bidding process even though they were advertised in newspapers. It was further revealed by Industry sources that the debt owed NIMASA by shipping companies is in the region of $15 billion while NIMASA estimates it to be in the region of $5 billion yet the certificate for the contract award had been given to Akanya despite reports that his company does not have the competence to do the job.
Besides the murky award procedures, there have also been questions about the propriety of NIMASA hiring a consultant to recover their debts when their internal staff can effectively make this debt recovery. It is understood, NIMASA will be paying billions of Naira to Akanya and his company for doing nothing.
The moral question again is, why should Contracts canceled by the government on the allegation of corruption be re-awarded to Amaechi’s cronies and friends? It is an indictment on the APC’s Government that came to power on the twin mantra of change and anti-corruption.
Several sources also within the Government circles and Amaechi himself have made attempts to defend this act on the basis that Amaechi is being rewarded as a chieftain of our party and major financier of the Buhari’s campaign in 2015!
The moral question to these people promoting these warped positions on Amaechi’s defense is where Amaechi made all the money to finance the president’s election if his claims of a major financier to APC are to attract a reward.
All Progressive Congress (APC)
National Secretariat, Abuja