By Emman Ovuakporie & Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—The House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration and the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, yesterday disagreed sharply over the amount owed the agency and the ‘controversial’ award of contract to recover alleged $5 billion debts for the agency.
While, Chairman of the Committee, Umar Bago, insisted that the debt was about $5 billion, Peterside disagreed, saying the debt profile from 2004 till date was $420.5 million.
According to Bago, there have been a plethora of petitions over the recent award of contract to a firm, SNECO Financial Services, which was said to have been incorporated on April 4, 2016, which the petitioners claimed breached due process.
But the NIMASA DG, Peterside, who was a former member of the House, told the committee that the agency complied with all due processes required in awarding the contract and that the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, awarded a certificate of no objection on the contract.
According to the Committee Chairman, one of the petitions claimed that under the terms of the contract, SNECO will take 13 per cent of the recovered debts, a figure the committee described as huge.
A member of the committee and Chairman, House Committee on Power, Daniel Asuquo, had directed the NIMASA DG to produce the audited account of the firm.
Asuquo, who represents Akamkpa/Biase Federal Constituency of Cross Rivers State, asked the DG to furnish the committee with documents indicating the pedigree of SNECO, its audited account, and owners.
The committee, however, said it would conduct a public hearing into the processes which is expected to take place next week.