NIMASA DG Bashir Jamoh faces arrest over $9.3bn loss

Bashir Jamoh

The Senate panel on public accounts has issued a warrant of arrest against the director-general of the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Bashir Jamoh over alleged payment of $5 million to a legal firm for the recovery of a $9.3 billion loss.

Despite several invitations, NIMASA has yet to appear before the panel to explain the transaction.

Chairman of the panel Senator Matthew Urhogbide ordered the arrest warrant at a briefing on Sunday.

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.”

NIMASA paid the law firm $5 million as legal fee for the intelligence-based tracking of a global movement of Nigerian hydrocarbon and recovery $9.3 billion between 2013 and 2014.

A report by the auditor-general said the money was paid from Zenith Bank’s (UK) dollar account, reports PUNCH.

“The naira equivalent of this amount was N741,904,761.28 at an exchange rate of N164 to a dollar as of that date.

“No evidence of recovery of either part or the entire sum of the 9.3 Billion US Dollars was presented at the time of the periodic check-in in February 2018, despite the huge amount of money already paid to this effect,” the report said.

It added that NIMASA did not present details of the transaction leading to the loss of $9.3bn to the Federal Government for audit. The information came to the fore through the review of the letter from the agency to the legal firm, it said.

“Audit is concerned that payments were made for service not rendered and this may be a deliberate attempt to divert government funds for personal use,” the auditor’s report noted.