The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi is set to probe the finances of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Akwa Ibom State over the N18 billion released to the institution from 2009 to date.
The minister, it was learnt, gave the go ahead for the audit of the Academy’s finances and the tenure of its current Rector, Joshua Okpo.
Okpo reportedly drew unnecessary attention to himself when he falsely accused the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) of depriving MAN of funds due to it.
Following the allegation, Amaechi summoned the acting Director-General of NIMASA, Haruna Jauro and demanded explanation as to why the agency was starving the academy of its statutory five per cent funds.
“The NIMASA DG was really shocked by Okpo’s allegation and he explained to the Honourable Minister that NIMASA had regularly released money due to the academy”, a source said.
Jauro, it was learnt, also disclosed that NIMASA had released more than N18 billion to the Academy between 2009 and 2014.
It was learnt that Okpo, who also attended the meeting, confirmed to the minister that the academy had actually received up to N13 billion since 2011 when he assumed duties as the Rector of the institution, but when he was asked to account for how the funds was spent, he did not provide satisfactory answers.
“When asked by the Minister to explain what he had done with the huge sums of money released to the academy against the backdrop of lack of physical infrastructural development of the institution, Okpo was short of a convincing explanation prompting the Minister to order an immediate audit of the academy’s account from 2009 to date”, the source said.
Confirming the development, the Deputy Public Relations of NIMASA, Hajia Lami Tumaka, said the financial activities of the MAN might be probed by the government.