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12 Shipping companies risk arrest warrant as EFCC probes over $300 million debts

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The House of Representatives Committee on Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and Education (NIMASA), on Thursday, threatened 12 shipping companies with arrest over failure to remit the sum of $300 million to the government since 2004.

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The lawmakers also vowed to hand over the defaulting companies to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should they fail to redeem their indebtedness to NIMASA before 20 November 2018.

The Committee chairman, Hon. Mohammed Umar Bago (APC, Niger), who issued the threats at an investigative hearing in Abuja, wondered why the affected indigenous companies would collect revenues from foreign shipping lines on behalf of Nigeria, and refuse to remit same.

Laying a background to the hearing, Bago said: “This Committee has been petitioned over the cumulative $300 million unremitted revenue to NIMASA. We have found a long list of debtors since 2004, and I see no reason why foreign companies pay to you and you refuse to remit same to the government. This is wickedness.

“We have been told that some of the defaulters want to close their companies, open new ones and continue the same business. We are collaborating with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and EFCC, and we can issue bench warrants against them unless they remit before 20 November 2018,” Chairman Bargo threatened.

According to documents before the panel, the unremitted revenue accrued from 3 per cent charges levied on all cargos coming into Nigeria, which are collected by the receiver companies on behalf of NIMASA.

Going by the documents, the defaulting receiver companies include GAC Shipping Ltd., Daddo Maritime Services, Blue Sea Marine, Divine Marine, Transocean Services, and Inchcape Shipping.

Others are Maersk Nigeria Ltd., Hull Blythe, CGM-Delmas Nigeria Ltd., Joe-Eboje, Peak Shipping, and Al Raine Nigeria Ltd.

Responding, the Financial Manager of GAC Shipping Ltd., Mr. Rafiu Adesola, admitted that his company’s indebtedness to NIMASA is only $3 million, contrary to the agency’s claim of $172 million.

On his part, Mr. Churchil Chukwuemeka of Inchcape Shipping whose company owed up to the $6.4 million disclosed further that after reconciliation with NIMASA, their current indebtedness stands at $1.4 million.

Chairman Bago, therefore, warned the defaulting receiver companies to offset the indebts and reconcile with NIMASA before November 20, and also ensure that they tender before the Committee all account statements of their transactions with NIMASA since 2004.

The hearing was therefore adjourned to resume on November 20, 2018.


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