The Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron has threatened to drag ship owners under the aegis of the Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) if they failed to refund monies collected from the Academy to provide training for cadets on board their vessels on or before April 30th.
The management of MAN, Oron had entered into a pact with SOAN as part of efforts aimed at getting cadets of the academy the mandatory sea time experience on board indigenous vessels.
MAN, in a letter dated January 30th and addressed to the President of SOAN, MkGeorge Onyung, alleged that some members of the association collected money running into millions of naira from the Academy for training of cadets for their Student Industrial Training Experience Scheme (SIWES) programme but failed to engage the students on board their ships.
The letter signed by the Rector of the academy, Commodore Emmanuel Effedua, and obtained exclusively by SHIPS & PORTS noted that 13 cadets out of those scheduled for the 2019 SIWES exercise were not deployed and given the required sea exposure because “some SOAN members collected money from the Academy but failed to provide the service for which they were fully paid”.
The academy warned that it would have no other option than to invite the anti-graft agency to step in and recover the money if the affected SOAN member companies do not turn up before the ultimatum.
Some of the SOAN’s member companies who defaulted in the agreement with the Academy include Oil Flow Services Nigeria Limited, Jevkon Oil and Gas Limited and NKRA Marine Limited.
According to the letter, the sum of N26,448,000 was paid to the account of Oil Flow Services by the academy for 27 cadets to undergo four months industrial training but the company only expended N4,176,000 on 12 cadets.
The sum of N8,352,000 was also paid to Jefkon Oil and Gas Limited but only N2,784,000 was expended while a total of N2,784,000 was paid to NKRA Marine Limited but only N1,000, 000 was spent.
The letter titled ‘A Post Mortem of the 2019 SIWES Exercise and Request for Refund stated in part, “The management’s experience was traumatic, as some of your members companies kept requesting cadets to travel to various places to board vessels and these expensive movements yielded nothing. The Academy absorbed this additional financial burden, despite the fact that the institution paid SOAN administrative charges.
“The management also observed that there is communication gap between the leadership of SOAN and some of its member companies which left some of the cadets stranded severally. It is believed that if proper liaison was done, the Academy would have been able to put its cadets onboard Starzs owned vessels. It is pertinent to note that Starzs has refunded the sum paid to it by the Academy and the management is grateful.
“In view of the above, while recognising the challenges you faced in facilitating this exercise, you are respectfully requested to direct Oil Flow and a few others to refund all monies collected from the academy for services not rendered before the end of April 2020 or the management may be forced to seek the assistance of the anti graft agencies to recover the money from them.”
When contacted, SOAN’s President, Onyung confirmed the development but said efforts are ongoing to address the issue with the affected member companies.