Amaechi demands details of financial transactions, contracts at NIMASA
• EFCC re-arrests agency’s ex-boss on court premises
Inspecting transport infrastructure in Lagos yesterday, the minister expressed worry at what he described as the level of information emanating from the agency. He explained that information so far at his disposal pointed to “several billions of naira” spent with nothing on ground to show for it.
Amaechi, who was at the NIMASA Resource Centre in Lagos, decried the poor state of infrastructure at the facility. “How can you carry out any form of rescue or training in this state?” he queried.
The minister also discovered during the tour that the lift and other facilities at the NIMASA Rescue Centre were not functioning. He directed the acting Director-General of NIMASA, Haruna Jauro, to put together all contracts awarded by the agency since inception (2007), the contactors, the level of job done, the number of staff at the agency and their qualifications, money generated by NIMASA and amount remitted to government.
“This is not a probe. I want to find out the state of things. Since I assumed office, a lot of people have been coming to me to give them job at NIMASA. When I ask why, they always tell me there is money at NIMASA. So far, I have not seen anything on ground to justify the billions we hear about,” Amaechi said.
There was a mild drama at the premises of the Federal High Court, Lagos yesterday as officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) battled to re-arrest former Director General of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Control (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi.
Akpobolokemi and his counsel, Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN) had just came out from the court where his case was adjourned, when officials of the anti-graft agency accosted him. They tried to force him into a bus but he resisted. His bewildered counsel and audience watched helplessly as the agents overpowered him and bundled him into the bus and zoomed off. There are speculations that EFCC wants to file a third charge against him.
Earlier at the proceedings, Justice Ibrahim Buba had adjourned to January 18, 2016 at the instance of the counsel for the 3rd, 5th and 6th accused persons, Mr. Seni Adio, who said he was only briefed at the weekend and needed time to study the case file.
Adio had reminded the court how the case was adjourned on December 7 till Monday to enable the 3rd, 5th and 6th accused persons find another lawyer, after their original counsel, Mr. Lanre Olayinka, failed to show up in court on the grounds that he was going abroad for medical treatment.
“I don’t even have a copy of the charge; I have no document whatsoever,” Adio said, adding that he still needed time to interact with his clients, who were only released on bail from the prison custody on Friday.
Counsel for the 2nd defendant, N.O. Balogun, also pleaded for adjournment, saying he was also just briefed at the weekend, after the former counsel, Mr. Madu Paschal, withdrew his representation on the grounds that he was planning a burial ceremony.