HCR: ‘ICPC Listing Incorrect, Unfair To MAN’ – Rector
BY EGUONO ODJEGBA
Rector of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron, Commodore Duja Effedua, Rtd, has faulted the listing of MAN as a High Corruption Risk (HCR) Agency by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, for allegedly failing to respond to its Ethics and Integrity Compliance Scorecard (EICS) questionnaire.
Effedua who was reacting to reports of the ICPC listing said that MAN responded to the said EICS, noting that the classification is incorrect as there was no study conducted by the Agency to come with its conclusion about the Academy; and further noted that the news report and publicity afforded by the ranking is injurious to the integrity and image of MAN.
The Rector expressed dismay that the rating is capable of de-marketing the Academy and eroding gains it has so far made in the global maritime arena in the past five years, in addition to hurting ongoing partnerships in the area of capacity building, technical support and marketability with foreign MTIs.
Although news report listed other 51 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) indicted by the ICPC ranking, MAN Rector said the inclusion of Academy in the HCR ranking is suspicious explaining that he responded to the EICS to the commission via the Email provided by the ICPC on 2 July 2021 and again on 9th January 2022 with even a hard copy addressed to the same Mr A Udofia the director in charge of the ranking, and even showed the acknowledgement copy from the ICPC on his ipad as proof.
He lamented that “Surprisingly, this man went ahead to mislead his Commission to include the Academy on the list for reasons best known to him.”
During our reporter’s interview with the Rector at an event in Lagos at the weekend, the Rector explained that the listing of MAN may have been premeditated, in view of issues associated with receipt of the EICS correspondences and other related matters, which the Study System & Review Department of the ICPC in charge of the assessment and ranking appeared to have shown some bias and attitude.
He however promised to get across to the ICPC Chairman who is a well respected Nigerian to lodge a formal complain, to enable the agency’s leadership investigate what he termed biases of some of its staff in the handling of the affairs of MAN in recent time.
Effedua explained that on March 12, 2021, the Academy received a similar request which it expeditiously responded to through the ICPC’s email as specifically directed. According to him, “after some months, they wrote again to say they didn’t get our reply, and we stated that we did and went further to show proof of delivery as our evidence. Is the Academy to be held liable for operational gaps within the responsible departments?
“Before this time, we sent names of some staff members of the Academy who gained employment with forged certificates to the ICPC to do their own investigation, majority of the affected staff are from the state and host community.
“More than three years now, ICPC didn’t act on our request. Each time we ask for updates, they ask us to send the names again, and we do. Up till today, ICPC didn’t act on the report and this attitude is making us to be suspicious of motives by some internal forces within the respected anti-graft agency. How can they claim that documents didn’t get to their destination within their complex despite proof of delivery and acknowledgement copies for them?”
Speaking specifically on the 2022 questionnaire used to carry out the incorrect assessment, Effedua said: “The EICS letter arrived Academy on December 22, 2022 and despite that the Academy has closed for the Year after the 2022 Graduation Ceremony, l directed that the request be treated immediately and it was done and submitted on January 9, 2023.
“Now, based on the funny signals we have been getting from them, we decided to submit the hard copy of the EICS to the Director of Study System & Review Department, Mr. A. Udofia, and it was received and acknowledged by the Commission. Strangely, it was this same director that claimed that MAN didn’t reply to their audit request, which is untrue.
“I am worried that some persons are not happy with the positive things happening at the Academy, under my watch. Remember that since coming in a cabal holding down the development of the Academy have written more than 6000 petitions against me, because l blocked the leakages and shut them out.”
The Rector agonized that the news report afforded by the ICPCs strange ranking of MAN as a high risk institution in terms of corrupt tendencies is wholly injurious to his person and office, and much more to the nation and her citizenry; and think that the ICPC’s leadership should look into the matter.
‘If the Study System & Review Department of our revered ICPC is saying they conducted a research to arrive at its unfair assessment and ranking, where and how did they do this without visiting the Academy?”, he asked.