Senate Orders Arrest of Jamoh and NIMASA CEO for $9.305 Billion Loss

Bashir Jamoh, CEO NIMASA

The Nigerian Senate Committee on Public Accounts has ordered the arrest of Dr. Bashir Jamoh, Chief Executive of the Nigerian Maritime Safety and Security Agency (NIMASA), for allegedly paying $5 million to a firm of lawyers as professional fees for the recovery of an amount of 9.3 dollars. billion loss.

The $5 million was paid for intelligence-based tracking of a global movement of Nigerian hydrocarbons and the recovery of losses by the Federal Government of Nigeria amounting to $9.3 billion between 2013 and 2014 .

Committee chairman Sen. Matthew Urhogbide in a Sunday briefing chastised the agency for NIMASA’s refusal to appear before the panel, saying the panel had no choice but to issue a warrant. judgment against the CEO of NIMASA. .

He said, “We invited NIMASA up to three times, but they didn’t honor our invitations. This committee has no choice but to issue an arrest warrant against the director general of the agency. They can go to the National Assembly for the allocation of funds, but when it comes time to account, they will be nowhere to be found.

“The committee had called on NIMASA up to three times for explanations of the payment of $5 million in professional fees and details of the federal government’s loss of $9.3 billion, but the agency declined the invitation.”

The auditor general’s report seen by Punch revealed that every effort by the Federation’s auditor general to get the details of the federal government’s loss of $9.3 billion for a full review was not granted by the NIMASA.

According to the AuGF report, the money was paid from the dollar account of Zenith Bank (UK).

The request read as follows: “The audit observed that the agency had engaged the services of a law firm through a letter with reference number NIMASA/DG/KP/2014/001, dated 24 January 2014 for intelligence-based tracking of a global movement of Nigerian Hydro.-Carbon and loss recovery by the Federal Government of Nigeria in the amount of $9.3 billion between 2013 and 2014, with a upfront cost of $5 million and 5% of all monies recovered.

“The payment instruction with reference number NIMASA/2007/DFS/WJ/5.500/VOL.11/341 dated April 2014 showed that the company received the sum of $4,523,809.52 (four million five hundred and twenty-three thousand eight hundred and nine dollars fifty-two cents only) net as business expenses from the dollar account of Zenith Bank (UK).

“The naira equivalent of this amount was 741,904,761.28 naira at an exchange rate of 164 naira to the dollar on that date.

“No proof of recovery of part or all of the sum of US$9.3 billion was presented during the periodic registration in February 2018, despite the enormous sum of money already paid to this effect.

“It is instructive to note that the details of the transaction resulting in the loss of $9.3 billion to the federal government, which only came to the audit’s attention through review of the letter from the agency to the law firm to determine what could have happened resulting in such a huge loss were not presented for verification.

“Ordinarily, the firm should have deducted its fees from the sums recovered for the FGN, and not received advance fees in lieu of recoveries.

He added: “The audit is concerned that payments have been made for services not rendered and that this may be a deliberate attempt to misappropriate public funds for personal gain.

“The Managing Director is required to justify the payment for service not rendered, failing which the sum of 741,904,761.28 naira must be recovered from the law firm and paid to the CRF, forwarding proof of payment to the commissions of the Public Accounts of the National Assembly and to the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation for verification.The sanctions set out in FR 3104 must apply.He is also required to provide details of the transaction(s) which led to the loss of 9.3 billion US dollars for an in-depth review.

Punch’s efforts to get a reaction from NIMASA on Sunday were unsuccessful.

Several calls and messages sent to the Deputy Director, Public Relations, NIMASA, Osagie Edward, went unanswered at the time of filing this report.

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