…minister orders probe of stewardship
by RICHARD ADENIYI
THE beleaguered Rector of Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Mr. Joshua Okpo, may soon lose his job as the Minister of Transport, RotimiAmaechi, has ordered a full- blown audit into the financial activities of the Academy.
The order followed the allegation of large scale fraud leveled against the Rector.
Ekpo has stirred the honest nest when he has consistently accused the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency( NIMASA) of starving the school of funds through the agency’s alleged flagrant refusal to release the statutory five per cent subvention funds to the Academy.
It was gathered that the Rector has also told the Minister, who was newly appointed, of NIMASA’s recalcitrant attitude towards the release of the statutory funds, an action he said has continued to frustrate the infrastructural development of the institution.
The Minister was said to have summoned the management of NIMASA to his office and asked why it was sitting on the subvention of MAN, Oron.
However, the bubble burst when the Minister was told by the Acting Director-General of NIMASA, HarunaJauro that the agency has remitted over N18billion to the Academy since 2009.
At the enquiry of the Minister, MrOkpo said he only took over in 2011 to which NIMASA declared that a sum of N13billion was remitted to the institution since the Rector took over.
Alarmed by the quantum of the funds, the Minister was said to have become livid with Okpo whom he said has told him ‘lies’ about the true situation of the disbursement.
When asked to explain what he has done with that huge sum against the backdrop of lack of physical infrastructural development of the institution, Ekpo was said to have given inconsistent and incoherent answer.
”I could have sacked you and your Finance Director straight away”, the Minister was said to have threatened.
He was however said to have ordered immediate audit of all the amounts said to have been remitted to the institution since 2009.
In addition, Amaechi has decided, along- side NIMASA management staff and relevant ministry officials, to commence on the spot- assessment of the facilities at the Academy in a bid to ascertain to what use the enormous amount received by the Rector was put.
‘’We could have gone last week Tuesday but for the trip the chief executive of the agency and the Minister made to London to attend IMO meeting. When they come back this week, we shall carry out the Minister’s directive” a source declared.
It was also learnt that the Minister has asked for the model of a similar institution in Egypt to compare with what is on ground in MAN, Oron.
It was also learnt that MrOkpo gave a commercial bank account details to receive the one billion naira last quarter subvention contrary to the spirit of Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy.