A financial report of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has shown that its Director General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh spent about N1,975,851,513.78 on training while N178,815,723.2 was made on Publicity and Promotions between 2020 and 2022.
Dr Jamoh, who was appointed Director General of NIMASA in March 2020 has been accused of financial infractions.
In July 2022, the Senate through its Panel on Public Accounts ordered the arrest of Dr Jamoh, for allegedly paying $5m to a legal firm as a professional fee for the recovery of a $9.3bn loss.
The $5m was paid for the intelligence-based tracking of a global movement of Nigerian hydrocarbon and recovery of loss by the Federal Government of Nigeria for $9.3bn between 2013 and 2014.
The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Matthew Urhogbide, while briefing journalists then expressed displeasure with the agency over the failure of NIMASA to appear before the panel, saying that the panel had no other option but to issue a warrant of arrest on the DG of NIMASA.
He said, “We have invited NIMASA up to three times, but they have failed to honour our invitations. This committee has no other option than to issue a warrant of arrest against the Director General of the agency. They can come to the National Assembly for fund appropriation, but when it is time to give account they will be nowhere to be found.”
Recently, former Director General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, admitted while shedding more light on the ongoing probe of NIMASA by the House of Representatives over the alleged award of questionable and phoney contracts, fraudulent forex transactions, lopsided placement of directors amongst others, said some of them occurred before him, during his tenure while others occurred under the current DG, Dr Bashir Jamoh.
Former Minority leader of the House of Representatives Hon. Kingsley Chinda had moved a motion during a plenary in July over several allegations of questionable, inflated and fictitious contract awards at NIMASA, particularly for non-operational speed boats, security surveillance contracts and the Deep Blue project.
But Peterside in an interview with Tribune stated that, “… I can say confidently that some happened before my tenure as DG; some happened during my tenure as DG, while some happened after my tenure as DG.
“Now, to break the allegations down, concerning withholding of Remita revenue by some companies, this happened before I became DG of NIMASA. The companies involved include Gas Shipping Nigeria Limited, Daddo Marine Limited, Blue Seas Marine Services, and TransOcean Support Services Limited. This withholding of Remita revenue happened before I became DG of NIMASA. These are issues that we have dealt with before now.
“The lawmakers also talked about Valuation of Procurement Act. The lawmakers said some companies breached procurement process. This happened under the current DG of NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh, even though I don’t think it’s true. The companies involved include COT Engineering Limited, Well Mann Construction Company Limited, Retin Technical and Commercial Service Limited, Messrs. DePK Ventures Limited, amongst others.
“The lawmakers also talked about foreign exchange, but you know we don’t deal with foreign exchange. Maybe the lawmakers are not aware that since TSA began, NIMASA cannot deal with foreign exchange again. Since TSA, foreign exchange goes directly to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).”
However, a financial report our correspondent obtained, showed that Jamoh spent N53,873,120 on transport and logistics in three years between 2020 and 2022. N103,647,355.9 was spent on ancillary costs alone within the three years, while N2,605,197,235.3 was spent on recurrent expenditure.
A breakdown of budget allocation from 2020 to 2022 showed that under Jamoh’s leadership, there was systemic inflation of the budget when compared with the budget allocation of his predecessor.
In 2019 the recurrent expenditure of the agency stood at N98,841,229.36 while its total budget was N27,000,211,229.36. For the year, the budget for personnel cost was N4,586,909.36 but in 2020 when Dr Jamoh took over, the budget for personnel cost was jacked up to N26,654,139; in 2021, the budget for personnel cost was increased to N57,766,906.98 while in 2022, the budget for personnel cost was increased again to N140,012,975.50.
Like personnel costs, every other item from training to transport and logistics, to publicity and promotions and others rose astronomically under Jamoh’s leadership.
In 2019, ancillary cost was N2,504,000 while in 2020 it was hiked to N39,276,725; in 2021, it was increased to N76,195,000.90 and in 2022, it went up to N56,751,130.94.
It was observed that the training cost was increased under Jamoh’s leadership to over 500 per cent from the previous leadership.
For instance, according to the financial report, in 2019, training cost was pegged at N66,494,000; in 2020 when Jamoh assumed office, it moved up to N143,998,167.50. In 2021, it was increased to over N1.6 billion and in 2022, it came down to N149,541,483.46.
According to sources, Bashir Jamoh is married to former President Muhammadu Buhari’s niece and his first daughter is married to Buhari’s nephew.
One of the sources who spoke to Ships & Ports in a report seen by SaharaReporters said, “In almost 8 years, nobody, not even Rt. Honourable Rotimi Amaechi (former Transport minister) or Dr Dakuku Peterside was able to challenge Dr Bashir Jamoh because of his connection to Muhammadu Buhari through his nephew ‘Tunde’ leading to lots of mismanagement and maladministration of the Agency, sending the Agency 20 years backwards.”
“Our very reliable source who wants to remain anonymous tells us that in the last 7 years plus, Dr. Bashir has secretly employed about 500 Nigerians into the Agency without due process – no newspaper advertisement, no written oral interviews, most candidates are just told to resume and start documentation.
“Employment slots were just shared amongst the Executive Directors, NIMASA Board Members and some power brokers in Nigeria. The sacked immediate past chairman of the EFCC Abdulrasheed Bawa was graciously given three employment slots for his family and relatives and financial rewards to take him off the sleaze in NIMASA – One of those 3 slots, he gave to his junior brother – Farid Bawa employed and posted to the Kirikiri Branch of NIMASA. These are all verifiable in the Agency.
“Dr. Bashir Jamoh against all known civil service rules and norms employed his direct junior brother Moshood Jamoh and without confirmation as a full staff and was sent on NIMASA Sponsorship to the World Maritime University in Malmo for two years. Moshood seamlessly resumed at the Maritime Safety Department of the Agency as a Maritime Expert.”
Sources also accused Jamoh of promoting nepotism as NIMASA boss and jettisoning recruitment based on merit for tribal and religious sentiments.
One of the sources said, “Since 2020 when Dr Bashir Jamoh was appointed the Director General of NIMASA with his connections in Aso Rock, he has run the Agency as his personal property while institutionalizing nepotism.
“Without the consent of all 3 Executive Directors. He ensured staff from the Northern enclave occupied all key positions in the Agency and all these can be verified. For example, the Head of Procurement, all heads of all the zones and Port Services Controllers of all NIMASA outstation offices are Northerners.
“Promotions and posting have never been based on merit or Federal Character Principle, but instead on Fulani Kanuri connections. In most of these cases, these staff were not the most senior or competent when they were asked to Head those offices.
“Never in the History of NIMASA has the Agency been so religiously or tribally divided. The question remains: Why are all the Heads of the Zones of all the offices of NIMASA in the South and West headed by Northerners except for one?
“All the four zonal offices of NIMASA, which are important structures in the agency, are headed by northerners. The zones are the Western Zone based in Lagos, Central Zone based in Warri, Eastern Zone based in Port Harcourt, Northern Zone and the Abuja Office.
“The NIMASA Western Zone is headed by Kabir Murnai from Katsina State, the Central Zone in Warri is headed by one Bappa M. Musa from Borno State, the Eastern Zone is headed by Yusuf Barde from Katsina State while the Northern Zone is headed by Waibe Auta from Plateau State. The NIMASA Abuja office is also headed by a northerner named Musa Zalani Attah from Adamawa State.
“Furthermore, all but one of the Port Service Controllers (PSC) in all the zones are northerners, mostly from Jamoh’s native Kaduna State. They are Sani Zaria for Apapa and Abubakar Jiga for Ibeju Lekki, both under the Western Zone. The Port Service Controllers in the Eastern Zone are Nuhu Umar for Port Harcourt, Mohammed Ibrahim for Onne and Ibrahim Umar for Calabar while the Head of the Central Zone, Dappa M. Musa from Borno State, also acts as its Port Service Controller covering Oghara, Sapele, Burutu and Forcadoes. Only one out of the existing seven PSCs of the agency, Chizoba Anyika (Tin Can Island Port), is a southerner.”
Efforts to reach the agency’s Assistant Director, Public Relations, Mr Osagie Edward, were not successful as he did not answer his calls. He also did not reply to a text message sent to his mobile line.