‘Corruption cases on foreign vessels reduced to 51 in two years’
The Maritime Anti-corruption Network (MACN) and the Convention on Business Integrity (CBI) have said that the help desk intervention for vessel clearance has recorded a drastic reduction in the demand for bribes and large unreceipted payments at the Nigerian seaports in the last two years.
The team said the intervention reduced the incidences of corrupt demand in vessel clearance from foreign ship captains at the ports and terminals.
Giving a breakdown of the corruption figures, the Chief Executive Officer of CBI, Olasoji Apampa, said the demands for bribes dropped from 268 in 2019 to 128 in 2020 and further to 51 in 2021.
He did not, however, disclose the ports where the incidents were recorded or the agencies and persons involved.
He said the impact of the help desk has created assurance and improved perception among foreign ships calling at the nation’s seaports.
He said sustaining the improvement would yield more benefits for Nigeria in terms of reputation building, economic activities and investment in the maritime sector for the future.
Apampa stated that plans are afoot to migrate from the quayside to cargo clearance operations.
The CBI boss added that to strengthen the implementation of the Nigerian Ports Process Manual (NPPM) being spearheaded by the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), the group was also embarking on training of relevant government officials in the first quarter of 2022.
The training, according to him, would involve all government agency officials who board vessels and the standing task team, which comprises the Department of State Services (DSS), the Nigerian Shippers Council, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) as well as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), who were carrying out sting operations and ensuring proper implementation of the NPPM.
Also speaking, the Associate Director, Global Operation and Industry Engagement, MACN, Vivek Menon, expressed optimism towards the implementation of change and integrity in the Nigerian port system that reduced corruption to the barest minimum.
“We want to start with Nigeria because it is one of the most difficult working environments. We want to amplify the change by collaborating with the government to advance this fight against corruption in Nigerian ports. This is going to be beneficial for the country, region and also the continent,” he noted.
Menon said MACN captures more than 50 per cent of global tonnage and over 40 per cent of cargo, adding that in container traffic, the network has moved more than 75 per cent of tonnage.
The Deputy President, Calabar Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, David Etim, said the private sector must take hold of this project by investing money to drive it forward.
MEAWHILE, the National Coordinator, NPPM, Moses Fadipe, called on the Federal Government to reintroduce the use of Advanced Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) in port operations, saying it is a tool needed to address the rising cases of illicit drug importation into the country.