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Senate gives 48-hour ultimatum to NIMASA to produce evidence on $5m legal fees

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Senate Committee on Public Accounts (SPAC), yesterday, issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to show documents on payment of $5 million legal fees.

The panel had invited the management of NIMASA to explain why the money was paid for service allegedly not rendered.

At resumption of the hearing, the representative of NIMASA, Olamide Olusanya, told the committee that the matter was in court. But the committee turned down the submission, asking the agency to make presentation on information at its disposal on payment of the fees.

The official told lawmakers that the agency was directed by the then Attorney General of the Federation to issue the payment.

Asked whether the Presidency directed the agency to pay the fees, Olusanya said there was no such order. He, however, said there was a letter from the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Administration authorising the payment.

The chairman, consequently, ordered the agency to present documents relating to the payment by tomorrow, so that the committee can take a final decision on the matter.

He said: “We need the detail of the payment. Go back to your archives and bring it.”

Another member of the committee, Senator Abdullahi Danbaba, said there was no basis for making the payment, urging that the money should be recovered from law firm.

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