The management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has denied stories making the rounds that the Federal Ministry of Transport and the Agency officials were involved in a bribery scandal concerning the sum of US$429 million maritime security contract with an Israeli firm, insisting that “there is no truth in the publication whatsoever.”

According to a release made available to our correspondent, and signed by NIMASA’s Head, Corporate Communications, Isichei Osamgbi, “having read through the content of the publication, it is sad to note that some people will derive joy in playing politics with the issue of security in the Nigerian maritime domain at a time NIMASA, under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Transportation is working closely with security agencies in Nigeria to improve security in Nigerian territorial waters and the Gulf of Guinea.

“While acknowledging that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) recently approved the acquisition of some maritime security assets on contractor-financed basis in favour of an Isreali firm; the content of the write up was laced with malicious falsehood. We view this as being merely a cheap attempt to tarnish the image of the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, and the Director General of NIMASA Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside.

Dakuku Peterside
Dakuku Peterside
Federal Government
Minister Of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi

He added: “While the report claimed bogus figures such as $429 million dollars and $615 million as value of the contract for vessel purchase, we wish to state that there was nothing in that nature related to a contract in the approval granted by the Federal Government of Nigeria for the acquisition of maritime security infrastructure.

“The report said the investigation relates to the acquisition of 3 number Shaldag fast patrol boats by Nigerian Navy in the years 2010 to 2013. The said report claimed three Israeli Shipyard officials were being questioned over the 2010-2013 transactions.

“Even when it is clear that neither the Honourable Minister, Rotimi Amaechi or Dr. Dakuku Peterside was occupying their present office in the years mentioned in the report, the authors still chose to be mischievous.”

According to NIMASA, the recently-approved maritime security assets acquisition relates to special mission aircrafts, special mission helicopters and 12 fast intervention vessels to be acquired for enhanced coastal and aerial surveillance and patrol of the Nigerian maritime domain will be manned by Nigerian Navy and other Nigerian military officials.

“The terms of the contract also include human capacity development that will see the firm train NIMASA and retrain Nigerian security personnel with specification to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) standard, especially on fighting crimes in the maritime domain of which we have peculiar challenges in the creeks and our larger coastal region. The value of this contract is known and it is $195m,” Osamgbi said.