Reps Grill Peterside Over NIMASA’s $5bn Debt Recovery Contract

The House of Representatives Committee on Marine Safety on Tuesday grilled the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Mr. Dakuku Peterside, over a controversial contract to recover NIMASA’s alleged $5bn debt.
A firm, SNECO Financial Services, which was incorporated on April 4, 2016, was awarded the contract.
The House committee, which is chaired by Mr. Umar Bago, is in possession of petitions, alleging the breach of due process and fraud in the award of the contract.
One of the petitions clearly stated that under the terms of the contract, SNECO would take 13 per cent of the recovered debts, a figure the committee queried for being “huge.”
Lawmakers observed that this would be about $65million profit for the firm.
Bago said, “We have the petitions here. The petitioners consider this a waste of public funds.
“Why will NIMASA engage another firm to perform its functions? Why do we have staff in NIMASA? What is their work?”
Another member of the committee, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Power, Mr. Dan Asuquo, directed Peterside to produce the audited account of the firm.
“What is the pedigree of SNECO?
“Where is their audited account? We want to know their owners,” he added.
But, Peterside, a former member of the House, told the session that NIMASA complied with all due process requirements in awarding the contract.
He explained how the Bureau of Public Procurement awarded a certificate of no objection on the contract.
However, Peterside, denied that he ever mentioned that NIMASA’s debt was $5bn or $10bn as had been quoted by some persons.
According to him, the agency’s debts from 2004 to 2016 was $420.55m.
He wondered how the petitioners arrived at the $5bn that was quoted.
He spoke more, “I never said that NIMASA was owed $5bn. The entire volume of shipping trade in Nigeria in the last four years is nothing close to $10bn.
“We complied with every provision of the Public Procurement Act.”
But, lawmakers were not satisfied with his explanations and insisted on holding a full investigative hearing on the controversial contract.
“DG, there will be an investigative hearing. So, you can speak on those questions that you have answers to give now.
“On those questions that you are not ready to answer, please prepare fully and come during the investigative hearing,” he said.

Queen’s College Sex Scandal: Police Grill Teacher For 13 Hours

 The La­gos State Police Command, Ikeja have interrogated the Queen’s College, Yaba, teacher, Mr. Olaseni Osifala, alleged of harassing a JSS2 female student in the night.
Police source said that the teacher was quizzed for over 13 hours from Tuesday evening to early morning of yester­day. The detectives told Mr. Osifala of the source of the petition.
As at the time of filling this report, Mr. Osifala was still at the police command waiting for another round of interrogation on the issue.
According to the source, during the interrogation, the detectives told him that there were several groups interest­ed in the case prompting the teacher to ask for the woman who raised the alarm.
During his interrogation yesterday, the detectives in­formed him of the source of the petition, asked him what he knew about the allega­tion which he denied and the teacher demanded to see the woman who raised the alarm of her daughter being harassed.
On Monday, Mr. Osifala was invited with the Princi­pal, Dr. Lami Amodu to the police command for ques­tioning and was with his in­terrogators till 7.00pm after he had written a statement.
The Principal, Mrs. Amo­du after writing her state­ment was asked to go while Mr. Osifala was made to stay behind for further question­ing before being asked to go home around 7pm and was directed to report early the next day.
Detectives asked him to report back on Tuesday morning which he did, he was released and summoned again in the afternoon to an­swer more questions
The allegation took a new twist yesterday as some staff of the college were invited to write statement and inter­rogated later on what they knew about the harassment.
There is an easy calm in the college following the revelation that the Old Girls Association of Queen’s Col­lege was behind the predica­ment of Mr. Osifala. The association was said to have sent the petition to the po­lice command indicting the teacher.
It was gathered that the woman who accused the teacher of harassing her daughter at the female hos­tel , has not shown up at the police command since Mon­day.
A source at the college said that the Principal, Mrs. Amodu has been invited by the Fed­eral Ministry of Education, Abuja, over the issue.
Several calls to her line were not answered but a staff at the college said the principal left Abuja yester­day for Lagos after briefing ministry staff of the situa­tion. The source confirmed a panel had been set up by the ministry.
The Parents – Teachers Association (PTA) of the college on Monday said no member of the body had brought the issue to the attention of the PTA and described the woman as faceless.
SS3 students of the col­lege lead by the Head Girl and some old students staged a protest on Monday in support of the embattled teacher and denounced the allegation.
A lawyer, Barrister Tony Ezimah said it would be difficult for the police to make any head­way in the case if the wom­an who accused the teacher of harassing her daughter did not show up.
Ezimah said the police can act on the petition from the old girls of the college but would require the com­plaint to prove the allega­tion against the teacher.

Credit: Sun

We Will Grill Ministerial Nominees- Saraki

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, yesterday said screening of ministerial nominees being expected from President Muhammadu Buhari before the end of the week, would be thorough and comprehensive.

Saraki gave the hint while welcoming senators to plenary in Abuja after a long recess.

He said screening of the nominees would be in-depth to ensure that only competent and qualified individuals occupied ministerial positions.

“As we await the list of ministerial nominees this week, we are prepared to treat the screening with dispatch but with thoroughness.

“I believe the presence of ministers will create the space for greater policy engagement with the executive arm of government.

“I want to urge you all my colleagues to ensure that what is uppermost in our minds as we begin the constitutional task of screening of ministerial nominees is the overall interest of our country.

“Once the list is submitted, let us ensure that we treat it with dispatch and thoroughness. We must not be held down by unnecessary politicking.

“The enormity of our national challenges at this time does not give room for pettiness or politics of vendetta,” Saraki said.

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