League of Maritime Editors writes N’Assembly, EFCC over House Committee’s shoddy oversight functions In CRFFN, seeks fresh probe
Publishers has written the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi
Gbajabimiala, over a shoddy oversight function carried out by the immediate
past House Committee on Ports, Harbour and Waterways (PHW) chaired by Hon. Pat
Asadu on the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria
(CRFFN) early last year, demanding a fresh probe to unravel the truth.
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to make public its
investigations on the wanton diversion of funds through capital projects
budgetary appropriation in three consecutive and successive years in CRFFN, which has both physical and documentary evidences circulating in private and
public circles, to exonerate itself from the allegation of compromise.
signed by its President and Secretary, Mr. Kingsley Anaroke and Mr.Francis
Ugwoke, respectively, the League said it is particularly worried that the
former members of the House Committee on PHW failed Nigerians and the maritime
sector over the way and manner they conducted a probe on the Council’s
activities and projects executed in the past by certifying a fraudulent process
free of malfeasance.
House Committee on PHW had last year invited the management of CRFFN to an
Investigative Hearing session chaired by Hon. Ossy Chinedu Prestige, a forum
where concerns on financial and administrative infractions in most of the
projects executed by the CRFFN management were raised.
members in the Committee to investigate the allegations, an assignment that was
concluded in May last year.
the probe, the House Committee members were simply given a hand-out or deceived
on the different status of the projects which were claimed to be under 80-90
percent completion, an assertion which has been discovered to be false.
wants the Speaker of the House of Representatives to assign another Committee
to undertake a serious probe on the status of the buildings or capital
projects, among others that have been executed by the Council in the past few
years for the stakeholders in the maritime industry and indeed other Nigerians
to know the truth.
Committee of having been heavily compromised on their national assignment,
adding that if a new probe is not instituted, the freight forwarding industry
which is being regulated by the Council will suffer.
has even become imperative considering that the CRFFN will soon commence the
collection of Port Operating Fees(POF) from members which will run into billions
of Naira in which lack of transparency and accountability will not be in the
best interest of the freight forwarding industry.
even become very necessary as the same former House Committee approved other fraudulent projects worth over
N100 million in questionable manner in the 2019 budget.
that the claim on the projects executed in some states was a big lie that will
shock the industry when the truth is revealed.
Council who were elected early last year have already gone round the places
where the projects were sited but were compelled to keep sealed lips over their
findings, one of the reasons the new House leadership needs to intervene in the
that the present leadership of the Council has already given a clean slate to
the former leadership of the CRFFN simply to protect them and probably for
reason that they also have padded the 2019 budget with fake projects for
personal gains in consolation.
take on the spot assessment of the of the said projects, while noting that it
is important to probe the spate of the funds allocation for security appliances
said to have been used by a professional regulatory council which is not a
contract award process lacks transparency, the group alleged that the true
ownership of the 12 companies selected for the contract awards is questionable.
Consequently, they called on the EFCC to undertake its statutory investigative
critical review of the 2017, 2018 and 2019 CRFFN budgets shows a carryover of
the same capital budget provision for a given project awarded in previous years
on the basis of build, furnish, and deliver.