Monday, February 13, 2012

A Contract Like No Other: The Controversy over Tompolo

Daily Trust
13 February 2012


The Federal Government has neither commented on, nor denied, reports that it has given a sensitive concession to a private company that is linked to Niger Delta warlord, Government Ekpumopolo, a.k.a. Tompolo.

This company, Messrs Global West Vessel Specialist Limited, GWVSL, is according to a report published by this newspaper, registered in 2008 and had Romeo Itima and William Itima as the only shareholders and directors at its incorporation.

Yet, according to a comprehensive account on the saga given by The NEWS magazine, it is with this fledgling of a company that our government entered into a so-called private-public-partnership (PPP), an arrangement that is clearly more private than public.

The initiative for the award of this lucrative deal came from the Nigerian Maritime Safety Agency, NIMASA, in a memorandum to President Goodluck Jonathan on March 1, 2011, signed by its Director-General, Ziakede Akpobolokemi , who, reports said, was nominated by warlord Tompolo for the job.

The question is: what is this contract supposed to achieve? NIMASA's argument is that it chose the option of a PPP to lessen the financial burden on government. So it found GWVSL, which is willing to make the initial investment of $103.4 million (about N16 billion) to operate the concession on a Supply, Operate and Transfer (SOT) basis.

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