10th December, 2010
The board of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) hasÂ recommended to the Minister of Transport, Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman the suspension ofÂ the Director General of the agency, Mr. Temi Omatseye, the Director of FinanceÂ Mallam Jarma Bulama and Director of Procurement, Alhaji M.K Shehu.
The recommendation was made in a memo sent to the Minister of Transport after theÂ NIMASA Board met last Tuesday at the agency.
P.M.NEWS learnt that the resolution to suspend Omatseye and the two directors is inÂ connection with their recent arrest by the Economic Financial Crimes CommissionÂ (EFCC) over their failure to follow due process by splitting, overpricing andÂ awarding contracts worth billions of naira which is beyond their approval limit.
The board equally advised the minister to suspend the trio until investigation intoÂ the case is completed by the EFCC.
The EFCC had last Wednesday arrested Omatseye, Bulama and Shehu over a petition sentÂ to it by the Chairman of the board of the agency, Senator Baba Tela.
According to a 19-page report submitted to the ministry by forensic audit experts,Â the contracts were awarded in local currency worth N5.127 billion and in dollarsÂ worth $1.863 million (equivalent to N279 million) from January to June this year.
According to the report, NIMASA within the said period awarded 451 contractsÂ totaling N5.4 billion, even as the report detected fraud in refunds, cash advancesÂ and supplies.
Meanwhile, as at the time of going to press, Suleiman had not acted on the memo,Â even as the international passports of the trio have been seized by the EFCC pendingÂ when investigation is concluded.
The audit report was prepared by Akin Omorodion & Co., a firm of charteredÂ accountants, which the Federal Ministry of Transport had commissioned to auditÂ contract awards by parastatals and agencies under the ministry.
These include:NIMASA, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Shippersâ€™ CouncilÂ (NSC), National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), and Nigerian Railway CorporationÂ (NRC).
While the NIMASA audit report has leaked, those of the other sister-parastatals ofÂ the Federal Ministry of Transport have remained under close wraps.
With the trend of events, a number of industry analysts have alluded to a possibleÂ witch-hunt against the NIMASA Management.