By Levinus Nwabughiogu
The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, revealed yesterday that the $195 million Deep Blue contract attracted a management fee of 10 percent, which is $19.5 million.
Jamoh was responding to questions on the actual cost of the project awarded to HLS International Company, raised by the House of Representatives Committee on Navy, currently probing the legitimacy of the contract to the foreign company.
It would be recalled that Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, also appeared before the committee on Tuesday for the same matter.
The NIMASA boss said: “Let me start by addressing the cost of the contract. The cost of the contract was $195 million and 10 per cent management fee of about $19.5 million. I want to make it categorically clear, the amount represents the cost of these platforms.
‘’There are other things or related costs that may not be included here from the time we collected this asset to date. You need to manage the assets, you need to buy bunkers, you need do other things, including those who are managing the platforms.
“So, I am presenting the amount approved by the Federal Executive Council as the cost of these platforms: $195 million plus $19.5 million, which is 10 per cent of management cost.”
Highlighting the conceptualisation process of the project, Jamoh said the entire contract agreement had been fully paid.
Contract fee fully paid, platforms operated by armed forces still belong to agency
He also refuted claims that NIMASA handed over its platforms for the armed forces of Nigeria, stressing that the platforms were still owned by the agency.
He also listed the components of the contract to include 17 bars interceptors, two special mission vessels for the sea operation.
He said: “For the air operation, we have two special mission aircraft and we have three special mission helicopters and then we have four unmanned air drones and we have 16 armoured vehicles.
“Let me correct one impression. NIMASA did not give any armed forces assets. Those assets remain the assets of Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency. We have no powers to dash what we procured with our own money unless it’s been instructed otherwise by Mr. President, the presidency or the Federal Ministry of Transportation.
‘’What we did was that we have a teamwork, NIMASA owned platform as interventionist to assist in maintaining peace and security in our own waterways, based on the mandate given by the NIMASA Act, based on the mandate of the International Maritime Organisation, IMO. The organisation doesn’t recognise uniforms, men and women in terms of Marshall shipping.
Reps query custodial powers of military equipment
In his remarks, the Committee Chairman, Yusuf Gagdi, however, queried the procurement of military equipment and custodial powers of the agency.
He said: “We don’t have coast guard. Why are you procuring military equipment and keeping them in your custody, preempting that you would have coast guard to hand over to them.
“Do you think it is safe for this country to keep those military equipment in your custody, with the sole aim of establishing an agency, predetermining that Mr President would approve the establishment of the coast guard? What would be the consequent effects of keeping those equipment in your custody?”