A contract, which the federal government terminated from Government Ekpemupolo, a militant leader known as Tompolo, has been awarded to Davies Akanya, chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers state.
Tompolo’s Global West Vessel Specialists Nigeria Limited (GWVSNL) got the contract, which is about debt recovery and surveillance, under the former administration.
According to THISDAY, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) under Dakuku Peterside, gave the contract to Snecou Nigeria Limited, a company owned by Akanya, without giving others the opportunity to bid for it.
Peterside was the APC candidate in the 2015 governorship election in Rivers.
The newspaper quoted industry sources as saying the debt owed NIMASA by shipping companies is in the region of $15 billion while NIMASA estimates it to be in the region of $5 billion and that the certificate for the contract award had been given to Akanya despite reports that his company does not have the competence to do the job.
THISDAY reported that as spelt out in the contract, Akanya’s company would get between 10 and 15 per cent of money recovered for NIMASA.
Under the new contract, Akanya’s company is to among other things, provide platforms for waterways monitoring and enforcement; engage in revenue services enhancement and debt reconciliation and recovery services for NIMASA.
The newspaper said its checks revealed that the new company is to be paid a total of N4.8 million monthly by NIMASA as engagement fees and other allowances for the period of the two years contract, commencing from October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2018.
In 2011, Patrick Akpobolokemi, ex-DG of NIMASA and an ally of Tompolo, had awarded a 10-year maritime security contract to GWVSNL.
As part of the contract, GWVESNL was expected to provide platforms to be used by the Nigerian navy and other security operatives to patrol the waterways, but in July 2015, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari terminated it.
THISDAY quoted sources as saying Tompolo and his group have vowed to frustrate Akanya, even if he sublets the contract to a more competent company.
“I can tell you that top officials of NIMASA are not happy with the way the contracts were awarded. How can you give such contract to a person of interest without giving opportunity to other companies to bid for the contract?” a source reportedly asked.
When contacted, Peterside admitted that the contract was actually awarded, but said it was a debt recovery contract, different from the one awarded to Tompolo.
“We are about to issue a statement on that. We awarded a debt recovery assignment which is totally different from Global Fleet and Tompolo was doing for NIMASA which took over revenue collection,” Peterside said.
“There is nothing wrong with what we have done. That is how it is done globally. People just want to make some- thing out of nothing. The contract was not awarded to Akanya, it was awarded to Snecou Nigeria Limited and we advertised the contract in several newspapers. So I don’t see what is wrong with awarding a contract to get our money from debtors.”
On the value of the contract, he said: “I cannot tell you the actual value; nobody knows the actual value as it fluctuates. But I can tell you that it is in the region of $4 billion or $5 billion. But I am not sure how much it is.”