…May Drag Uncle to EFCC
Family of the late founder and Managing Director of Global West Vessel Specialist Limited, Capt Romeo Itima has said that circumstances surrounding his death were inconclusive and that against earlier reports that he drowned, the late captain was actually murdered.
Speaking at the official media viewing of a documentary titled ‘The Price of a Dream’ in honour of Capt Itima in Lagos yesterday, his son, Kevin Itima who was producer of the documentary also said that the family would invite the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate alleged financial misappropriation and mismanagement of the company by Capt Itima’s brother who had allegedly taken over the company, Capt Winfred Itima.
Shipping Position Daily recalls that a civil case was recently filed against Capt Winfred alongside other Directors, namely: Mr Oluwagbenga Leke Oyewole and Olabisi Idowu Afolabi, by the wife of Captain Romeo Itima, Helen, and two of her children, Zion Itima and Kevin A. Itima.
The suit, designated: FHC/CS/1123/2017, was filed before Justice Babs Kuemi of the Federal High Court, Lagos.
Addressing the media, Kevin also alleged that the result of the autopsy carried out on late Capt Romeo proved that he was murdered. According to him, there was no water found in his lungs, he said this was contrary to reports earlier issued that he had drowned while on patrol in the Escravos.
“I personally believed that my father was murdered, there has not been any death before and after my father left that company, he was the most experienced seaman on that vessel, there were people on that vessel who do not have experience, but the wave came and killed only one man, the man that owned the company”
“When you look at the autopsy as well, if he had fallen off the boat and hit his head or chest and incapacitated and couldn’t swim, this would have made sense, but to just fall in the water and drown without trying to save himself, it doesn’t make any sense, it is so inconclusive”
“What happened afterwards was that they would not allow the other persons onboard to be questioned further, money started missing, it was too convenient a story, I do not believe it was an accident, I believe he was killed”
“The children were initially told not to file a police report, but the autopsy was later carried out at their insistence. His head and chest were cut open during the autopsy but for someone reported to have drowned, they could not find water in his lungs”, he said.
Speaking on the possibility of bringing in the EFCC, Kevin alleged that his uncle has been withdrawing cash in large amounts from the company’s accounts into his personal account. He also alleged that majority shares of the Global West Company are now being diverted to Capt Winfred which according to him does not follow due process.
“If the EFCC can come in it would be great, because as far as ownership is concerned, we do not authorize anybody to take sums of that amount into their personal account or any other account, if the EFCC sees it fit, they should take up the case because we have enough evidence, but we are just small people and the EFCC only picks up big cases”
At the moment there is a civil case, but I don’t think we can rule out the possibility of a criminal case, I don’t also think we can rule out the possibility of a formal petition to the EFCC, if the lawyers advise that we should go that route, we would not rule it out”
“When my uncle took over the company, the first action he took was to sack my elder brother, Zion. He refused to discuss with us about the company affairs, the statement of account or what my father left for us, we were waiting for him to call everybody together but it never happened, even though we expressed the want and the need”
“There are children that are fourteen years old, they still need to go to school, and my mum is still working in the states, sometimes for twelve to fifteen hours, a woman her age should not be working like that”
Giving a clearer picture of the maritime security contract which federal government had awarded to Global West Vessel Specialist Limited, Kevin told journalists that the contract has not been cancelled and that the company was only under investigations and the accounts were frozen. He said the government investigation has been running for three years, and that government has not been able to replace this company with another.
“I am not fighting to take over the company, but anything that belongs to my father and his shares should be given to him”
“When he was alive, there were no illegal actions; the purpose of the company was to stop illegal activities on our waters and not to start doing it. Nobody has come to me directly to threaten me, but we are now a thorn in the flesh of people that owns the company and our increased noise and allegations are causing them disturbances, so I believe my life is not safe to just be walking round like I was before, but my father’s story must be told and the wrongs must be righted”, he added.