Contrary to malicious reports trending on some social media platforms, independent findings have shown that the Bursar of Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Mr. Okon Bassey Okon, has an impeccable and unblemished credential of service at the Academy where he has served for decades.
The reports had insinuated that Mr. Okon Bassey, one of the strong pillars of the now reformed academy whose immediate past office was Director of Procurement was, alongside two others, recently arrested and arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)), for fraud amounting to 17million naira. Findings from authoritative sources in strategic positions in the academy have described the allegation and all its components as a spec of the authors’ imagination, wondering why anybody who calls himself a journalist would be so fascinated by falsehood targeted at a reputable personality like the bursar.
Known for his patriotic services and meticulousness, sources said the reports must have been sponsored by quacks and media hirelings who specializes in character assassination in the social media.
A long serving member of staff, who also pleaded anonymity, but said he served on the employ of the academy for more than ten years, however dared those he described as miscreants to prove their allegations beyond imaginations
As a matter of fact, findings however confirmed that, in line with its statutory duties which is nothing new by any stretch of reasoning, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had within the last one week saw reasons to invite Mr. Okon Bassey Okon to its office to offer some clarifications on some hazy issues the EFCC felt his inputs could be complementary to its findings.
Convinced and satisfied after courteous interrogations, reliable sources said the Commission had let go Mr. Okon Bassey to forge ahead with legitimate business.
It was further discovered that Mr. Okon Bassey Okon was not invited to the EFFC in consequence of any criminal accusation or petition of impropriety or fraud by the Management of the Academy or any entity, but purely on the circumspection and authority of the anti-corruption Commission as it deemed such expedient in fulfilling its legal obligations.
For the avoidance of doubts and for the benefit of those who may have come across that repugnant concoction on the social media or those within and outside the Academy community who may have heard of the matter through infectious gossip, it is pertinent some highlights be provided to the public:
- It was found out with strong corroboration that, for some time now, the EFCC has been on investigations of certain past activities of the Academy, covering specific periods from 2016 -2017 as a result of the Audit Report submitted by the Interim Management Committee (IMC) which had a lifespan of six months.
- As it stands today, the fully audited report of the Academy from 2010-2018 had since been submitted to the Office of the Auditor-General Office, Account-General of Federation, Fiscal Responsibility Commission, the National Assembly, Ministry of Transportation and other relevant offices. By this time the audit was being carried out, Mr. Okon Bassey Okon , the incumbent Acting Bursar, was the then Director of Procurement who has never been incriminated by any of the aforementioned reports or bodies, including the Interim Management Committee, the EFCC, etc or any subsequent ones for reason of impropriety or fraud.
- The 2019 audit report of the Academy is ongoing and of course, the Bursar has nothing essential to do with it, hence the finances of the Academy.
- Emphatically, the invocation of the powers of the EFCC upon the audit reports was consequent upon the forensic audit of the Academy covering 2010 to 2018, out of which Mr. Okon Bassey, who was later redeployed to Bursary, had no questions whatsoever to answer; nor has he ever been accused of any fraudulent or illegal transaction that affects the Academy.
4.For further elaboration, the recent invitation of the Bursar by the EFCC has NOTHING to do with the Maritime Academy of Nigeria per se. The EFCC did not invite him on grounds of any report of fraud or financial misappropriation by the Academy. Mr. Okon Bassey Okon was invited to clear some air in a matter involving two individual business partners who coincidentally are Staff of the Academy. And as a law-abiding citizen, he could not have hesitated to comply.
- Mr. Okon Bassey’s invitation, strictly speaking, was therefore because those involved fretfully and unfortunately mentioned his name in regrettable circumstances and in error, thus warranting EFCC’s verification and his physical presence. It had nothing to do with the Academy and his services thereof.
It is therefore worrisome and condemnable that some recalcitrant charlatans on borrowed robes in the open media arena who claim to be journalists have fallen head over heel and capitalized on that ordinary case of mere invitation of the Bursar by the EFCC, to fabricate spurious stories strategically aimed at satisfying their curiosity and self-inflicted ignorance.
Conversely, the suicidal enthusiasm with which the so-called journalists took the matter to the social media without due diligence and fact-finding can only leave objective minds with questions. It really worries to know that, as all the sources who spoke over the matter have confirmed, till today none of the frantic authors of the misleading reports has deemed it necessary to reach the maligned to possibly augment their assumptions. But knowing who these ones are and their stock-n-trade, it is logical to conclude that they simply wanted to create panic out of nothing; threaten with tantalizing falsehood to possibly swindle the innocent target; or seek to attract cheap attention and publicity the way they used to do in the past.
To do so to their fullest wishes, they have taken frivolous advantage of the benevolence of the social media to launch their unfortunate presumptions with the sole aim of wounding the hard-earned reputation of Mr, Okon Bassey Okon .
More observably, because they are neither professionals nor authentic students of journalism, the operational principle of counter-balance reportage was mischievously disregarded with impunity that smacks of the ulterior motive to cast aspersions on a highly valued personality like Mr. Bassey who has consistently refused to dance to their infantile monotones.
Sources within and outside the academy who consciously volunteered comments over the issue therefore described and dismissed the panel-beaten report of Mr. Bassey’s arrest by the EFCC for reason of fraud or misappropriation as malicious, preposterous, presumptuous and unfortunate from miscreants who have suddenly resurfaced from years of hibernation in irrelevance to arrogate duties to themselves as if they were engaged by the authorities of Maritime Academy of Nigeria to do so.
It needs not be emphasized that this careless brand journalism is fast becoming the bane in contemporary times. It is only more untoward that an innocent man like the Bursar has been made a victim. Nevertheless, with these latest findings that have exonerated Mr. Okon Bassey, it should be expected that the public would promptly throw such wild allegations into the dumpster.
The hungry and fake journalists will also do themselves a world of good to desist forthwith from their antics; otherwise the tenets of the practice might caught up with them soon. Journalism has the mandate to inform, not to misinform!