Ministry Denies Probe Of MAN Oron

The Ministry of Transportation has denied media reports that the Minister; Mr Rotimi Amaechi has ordered a scrutiny of activities of the Rector of Maritime Academy of Nigeria in Oron, Akwa Ibom state; Mr Joshua Okpo. He was alleged to have squandered a huge amount of money meant for the Academy.Reacting to media reports of the meeting between the Minister and both the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and MAN, Oron, Director, Press and Public Relations in the Ministry; Mrs Yetunde Osinaike said there was no truth in the report. She told our correspondent via the telephone last week that the ministry is highly embarrassed by the report and that she is writing a release which she planned to send to media houses.“I am the press secretary here, and I am telling you that there is nothing like that, if there is any probe or plan to visit Oron, I will know about it. My brother, the press is wrong on this”, she said.She however confirmed that, there was a meeting last week between the Minister and the management of NIMASA and MAN, Oron, but pointedly denied that one of the outcomes of the meeting is the decision to probe the Academy or even visit the school so urgently, as the media reported. “There is no truth in the report that he (Rector) was to be sacked and that he is being investigated”“Yes, there was a meeting, but it was only administrative, issues of probe didn’t come up, and certainly there is no truth in the report that the Honourable Minister is visiting MAN, Oron today (Tuesday)”, she stated. I am writing our reaction and I will send it to you as soon as the Minister comes in and sees it”, she promised.But, the press release was still being awaited as at press time.Shipping Position Daily recalls that the Rector of MAN, Oron has been variously accused of misappropriation of funds.The latest is that the Minister of Transportation is unhappy with the level of development at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, especially with the huge amount of money given to the academy over the last three years.The Rector was accused of mismanaging over N13bn given to the academy over the past three years.Okpo was also accused of spending over N10 million to organise Christmas jamboree last year immediately NIMASA released over N700million  to the academy as part of the agency’s statutory quarterly allocations.The minister was said to be livid with the Rector after he was confronted with documented evidence of disbursement to the Academy by NIMASA. It will also be recalled that, when she was contacted on the latest allegation and the purported plans to visit the academy, Deputy Director, Public Relations of NIMASA; Hajia Lami Tumaka confirmed that the minister and management of NIMASA have concluded plans to embark on an on-the-spot visit to MAN Oron.She however disclosed that the minister would visit the academy to see things for himself before the next line of action is known.“The minister himself will go to Oron with NIMASA management, they will be visiting the academy, so let us wait for the outcome of the visit,” she had said.But, the Public Relation Officer of the Academy, Sidi Mpadiok said accusation of financial recklessness against the Rector is not new.According to him, the Rector had been accused of series of financial recklessness by people he described as disgruntled elements.“Well I can’t answer for that, I can’t answer for the financial status of the academy. NIMASA and the Rector are the ones that can say thing about the finances of the academy. Allegations of financial recklessness are nothing new and they have been addressed. The agitators have nothing new to say, most of them are disgruntled and until we get the detail, there is nothing I can say", he had said.