…Says there’s no money to misappropriate
The Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Barr. Samuel Nwakohu has denied media reports accusing him misappropriating funds running into millions of Naira in his first one year in office.
The Registrar who made his position on the allegation known in an interview with our correspondent in Lagos recently noted that contrary to insinuations, there was no money in the Council for him to misappropriate.
He however admitted that as expected and obtained in other agencies of government, the Council and not him was owing some people including rents, some of which were incurred by the Council before he assumed office as the Registrar.
Nwakohu explained that he had not been able to deflate those debts because such expenditures are made from the overhead cost adding that he would not deep his hands in the capital vote to settle debts as such practice is unconventional.
In his words, “I can tell you categorically that I have not been involved in any misappropriation or in any financial recklessness of any kind. I owe some people for work done. I owe some people for rent, the Council is owing, it is not me owing. I got a letter the other day that we are owing for cost of partitioning the office in Apapa where they left and cost of laying tiles. Let me say this to you, such jobs can only be serviced with overhead not capital votes.
“I will give you a good example. My predecessor rented his personal house to CRFFN at Number 51 Karhtoum Place or so in Abuja, he moved to the boys’ quarters according to him. I can’t remember the number of years. He was in office, he couldn’t pay himself, he couldn’t pay for rent of that place. Why? The truth is that he could not have enough money in the overhead to service such debt. You cannot use money for capital expenditure to pay rent. So, I have so many letters like that.
“Mind you, when I assumed office, my staff then were at the Lugbe office in Abuja, they have left 51 Karhtoum place as at 2019. I met them at Lugbe office not Karhtoum place. So, the question I keep asking myself is why did my predecessor not able to pay himself? From when I came in till today, what has changed in terms of revenue generated? Because it is through that revenue that you can service such debt.
“Yes, we are owing quite a number of people, I make no secret about it. That is why I have been hell-bent to make sure that POF collection takes off. Where is the money? When I came here, there was no table, nothing. I don’t want to tell you how we procured these things initially. There is nothing to misappropriate. As my salary comes, there is a whole chain of things waiting for it. My salary is supposed to be personal to me but it is not so personal here because if ink finishes, I take money from there to buy it. If paper finishes, I take money from there to buy it. What is there to misappropriate? I travel most of the time, I have a pile of DTA like this which has not been paid. Not only me, most of my management staff. There is no money to misappropriate.”
Asked why he had not recourse to the court of law to remedy the allegation and why he chose to remain silent in the face of the allegation when he knows such to be false and maligning, he said, “Everybody has their style and focus. I have come to see that when you are a public servant, you have to get used to those things, if not so, you can’t survive. You have to remain focused. You know, when they talk about misappropriation, where is the money to misappropriate unless you misappropriate capital votes that is supposed to go for a project.”
It will be recalled that five members of the CRFFN management team allegedly petitioned the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and the immediate past CRFFN Governing Council alleging wanton embezzlement of funds by Registrar to the tune of over N300million out of which it was alleged that he spent a total of N36.6million as Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) on fake NGO and beauty pageant in Rivers State when he has refused to pay some maritime media a paltry advert bill of less than N10million for more than two years now.
It was further alleged that the Board, after thorough investigation of the allegations made a far-reaching submission and recommendations in an over 1,000 pages report to the Minister, seeking the Registrar’s sack , refunds of all the misappropriated funds and prosecution through the Economic Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission(ICPC).
Photo: The Registrar/CEO, CRFFN, Barr. Samuel Nwakohu.
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