Ship Owners Urge FG To Investigate Alleged N108bn Missing At NIMASA


LAGOS OCTOBER 1ST (NEWSRANGERS)-Worried by the Cabotage Vessels Finance Fund (CVFF), which position and disbursement are not clear to members of the public, Ship owners in the country have called on the Federal Government to urgently put measures in place to unravel the mystery behind the $300 million (N108 billion) CVFF said to have disappeared from the coffers of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) between 2008 and 2015.
The umbrella body of ship owners in the country, the National Ship Owners Association (NISA) at their Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Lagos, unanimously agreed to engage Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation on the matter after, which they threatened to seek legal redress.
Also, they called on the government to immediately commence the disbursement of the $124 million (N44.64 billion) contributed by ship owners from 2015 to date.
Otherwise known as the Cabotage Act, the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act Number 0.5 of 2003, was enacted in order to place Nigeria in a vantage position to derive maximum benefits from the huge potential in the maritime industry.
In order to ensure its successful implementation, the Act also established the Cabotage Vessels Financing Fund (CVFF).
Amaechi had while speaking at a forum in Abuja recently accused ship owners of falling to demand their right when the funds were been frittered away by past management of NIMASA.
Aminu Umar, NISA President, while addressing journalists, said the ship owners had decided to first engage the government before taking the matter to the law court.
He said: “We have deliberated on the matter and we have set up a committee to find out how the money was spent, what it was spent on. Yes, we know there is another $124 million or $150 million that was contributed between 2015 and now. But, we have to first find out what happened to the last one that we contributed.
“We are going to make a presentation to the NIMASA management and engage the minister of transportation for him to also look at it and brief us. The truth is this fund belongs to our members, it is our contribution and not government money. So, all members have the right to know what happened to their money.”
Speaking on the minister’s comment on the matter, he said the operators required accountability especially on what the funds were expended upon.
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