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Lawmakers Issue Arrest Warrant On NIMASA DG Over $5m Fraud 

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The Senate Committee on Public Accounts has called for the arrest of the Director-General (FG) of the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMSA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, over alleged payment of $5 million as professional fee to a legal firm.
Chairman of the Committee, Matthew Urhogbide, told journalists that the committee was forced to issue the arrest warrant following the refusal of Dr. Jamoh to appear before the panel after several invites.
According to Urhogbide, the $5million was paid for the tracking of movement of Nigerian hydrocarbon and recovery of $9.3billion loss by the Nigerian Government between 2013 and 2014.
The committee is concerned that payments were made for service not rendered and this may have been a deliberate attempt to divert government funds for personal use.
Our source reports that all efforts by the Auditor General of the Federation to get the details of the $9.3billion loss by the Federal Government for thorough scrutiny were rebuffed by NIMASA.
“We have invited NIMASA up to three times, but they have failed to honour our invitations.
“This committee has no other option than to issue a warrant of arrest against the Director General of the agency.
“They can come to the National Assembly for fund appropriation, but when it is time to give account they will be nowhere to be found.

“The Committee had invited NIMASA up to three times for the explanation on the payment of $5 million as professional fee and details of $9.3bn loss by the Federal Government, but the agency declined the invitation.” Urhogbide said.

The committee’s query read in part: “Audit observed that the agency engaged the service of a legal firm through a letter with reference number NIMASA/DG/KP/2014/001, dated 24th January 2014…

“For the intelligence-based tracking of a global movement of Nigerian Hydro-Carbon and recovery of loss by the Federal Government of Nigeria in the sum of $9.3bn between 2013 and 2014, with a start-off cost of $5m and five per cent of all sums recovered.

“Payment instruction with reference number NIMASA/2007/DFS/WJ/5.500/VOL.11/341 dated April 2014 showed that the firm was paid the sum of $4,523,809.52 net as professional fees from Zenith Bank (UK) Dollar account.

“The naira equivalent of this amount was N741, 904,761.28 at an exchange rate of N164 to a dollar as of that date.

“No evidence of recovery of either part or the entire sum of the 9.3 Billion US Dollars was presented at the time of the periodic check-in in February 2018, despite the huge amount of money already paid to this effect.

“It is instructive to note that details of the transaction leading to the loss of $9.3bn to the Federal Government which only came to audit attention through the review of the letter from the agency to the legal firm, so as to ascertain what could have transpired, resulting in such a huge loss were not presented for audit.

“Ordinarily, the firm should have deducted its fees from the amounts recovered for the FGN, and not receive fees in advance in lieu of the recoveries.

“Audit is concerned that payments were made for service not rendered and this may be a deliberate attempt to divert government funds for personal use.

“The Director-General is required to justify the payment for service not rendered, failing which the sum of N741, 904,761.28 should be recovered from the legal firm and paid into the CRF…

“Forwarding evidence of payment to the Public Account Committees of the National Assembly and to the Office of Auditor-General for the Federation for verification.

“Sanctions stated in FR 3104 should apply. He is also required to provide details of the transaction(s) leading to the loss of 9.3 Billion US Dollars for thorough scrutiny.”

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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CILT Holds Summit In Oct

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The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transportation (CILT), Nigeria, is billed to hold its summit from October 11 to 12, at the Oriental Hotel in Lagos.
The summit, which is aimed at promoting Nigeria’s Transport and Logistics Sector, is expected to bring together global transport veterans, lawyers, shipbuilders, bankers, academics, and consultants to discuss latest issues in the logistics and transport sector.
It will focus on logistics and transportation chains perspective with renowned experts presenting papers.
Chairman of the event’s planning committee, Prof. Kayode Oyesiku, revealed this much during a press briefing in Lagos, saying the event would correct Nigeria’s poor logistics performance index (LPI).
According to Prof. Oyesiku, the summit would have robust participation of transport experts from the academics to veterans in operations as quality research papers and thematic sessions will be held.
The conference themed; “Sustainable Innovations in Global Logistics and Transport”, takes into cognisance the fact that Nigeria’s logistics and transport sector is plagued by a myraid of challenges, Oyesiku said.
“The conference will comprise various technical sessions where subject-matter experts will lead conversations primarily aimed at interrogating the future of logistics and transport operations in Nigeria, especially within the context of a rapidly changing service environment, technological innovations and extensive planning dynamics that characterise logistics, transport and supply chain at the present time”, he said.
The Chairman, who was the pioneer Vice Chancellor of the Tai Solarin University of Education, stressed that the conference will attract scores of delegates from within and outside Nigeria, including business leaders, the academia and policy makers.
“This conference will encourage multidisciplinary networks and will provide platforms for academics and professionals to identify and examine the challenges, as well as proffer effective solutions for national logistics and transport operations,” he said.
He observed that LPI of nations is now the yardstick for measuring their economic resilience and competitiveness, noting that nations where LPIs are weak have also been characterised by vulnerable economies with high business risks.
The event will also feature exhibitions of transportation and logistics products from cognate industries and sectors, while availing an opportunity for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for industry stakeholders and providing an excellent platform for networking.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Air Transportation Demand Increases By 103.6% -IATA 

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The world’s apex transport body, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), has said the global air transportation demand has tremendously increased as at June this year.
The global transportation organisation said passenger data for June 2022 has shown that the recovery in air travel remains strong with a 103.6 per cent rise.
According to the IATA’s research data, which was made available to aviation correspondents, the total traffic in June 2022, which was measured in revenue passenger kilometers, was up 76.2 per cent compared to June 2021.
The report stated that the increase was primarily propelled by the ongoing strong recovery in international traffic in the air transportation.
“Globally, the demand for air transport traffic is now at 70.8 per cent of pre-crisis levels, in the latest research findings”, IATA report stated.
According to the data report, strong improvements in most markets, combined with the easing of some Omicron-related lockdown restrictions in the Chinese domestic market, contributed to the increase in domestic traffic for June 2022, which is reported to be up 5.2 per cent compared to the same period in the previous year.
From the report, total  domestic traffic for June 2022 was at 81.4 per cent, as compared to that of the June 2019 level.
IATA’s Director General, Willie Walsh, said, “Demand for air travel remains strong. After two years of lockdowns and border restrictions, and people are taking advantage of the freedom to travel wherever they can.”

By: Corlins Walter

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Ticket Racketeers, Touts Resurface In PH Airport

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Flight ticket racketeers, otherwise referred to as touts and fraudsters, that were once flushed out of the Port Harcourt International Airport, have resurfaced with their nefarious activities.
The Tide had initially reported their unwholesome activities when they emerged sometimes last year, which was tackled by the airport’s management.
The phenomenon has taken another bold dimension, as this group of persons carry out their activities more openly right in front of the departure terminal of the domestic wing of the airport.
The Tide observed that some of the old faces known in the act have come back with new recruits. Their slogan has been “I have come to hustle at the airport”.
They usually lead travellers who are not convasant with airport operations away to extort money from them on flimsy issues.
They will, at the first instance, approach their potential victim(s) on the pretence that they will assist in getting travel documents like the boarding pass from the airline, and would make the passenger feel relaxed in the nearby fast food joint, while they make contact with their airline partners for the documents.
Their target is usually to extort the ignorant passenger, as various charges will be hipped on him, like COVID-19 charge, agent fee, and boarding pass charges, which are not official charges of the airline.
The Tide further observed that some innocent passengers who got into their trap sometimes missed or nearly missed their flights, mostly because of argument that would ensue over the alien charges.
When they have succeeded, the money will be shared among them, and the circle continues till the end of the day, after which each of them likely goes home with a reasonable sum.
One of them, fondly called ‘Ime’, who was apprehended by Air-force personnel after he hijacked the sum of N50,000 given to them and ran into the bush, recently, had confessed that he was doing such to hustle for a living.
Although The Tide gathered that his mobile hand-set and other belongings were seised by the Air-force personnel, the said lme was still seen parading himself at the airport.
Meanwhile, the Head of Corporate Affairs at the airport, Mr Kunle Akinbode, could not be reached at the time of filing this report, as he was said to be away for other engagements.

By: Corlins Walter

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