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TI-UK taking action to uncover the truth behind NIMASA allegations

Transparency International UK has recently brought to public attention the problem of corruption in relation to the London property market.


As part of our on-going monitoring, we have discovered that an organisation in the ownership chain of the building in which TI-UK rents office space might itself be subject to a corruption investigation.

Background

TI-UK’s agreement to rent the office space is with “Can Mezzanine” a social enterprise that provides office locations for a number of charities at various addresses in London.

The former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the organisation that has a stake in the building in which we have offices at 7-14 Great Dover Street, is currently under investigation in Nigeria for financial impropriety.  During his term, it is alleged that NIMASA acquired the building unnecessarily and still maintains a London office within the building. It has been reported that staff members at NIMASA have signed a petition that has called for this office to be closed, and questions the necessity of NIMASA owning the lease to the building.

TI-UK moved into the offices in July 2015; at the time of moving the reports regarding NIMASA had not yet been made public.

Action

Transparency International UK is treating these allegations with the utmost seriousness.  We have:

  • Informed relevant authorities with immediate effect.
  • Written to our own landlords to ask for immediate clarification and proposing that rental payments are suspended while the situation is clarified.
  • Sought clarification of the details over the ultimate beneficial owner of 7-14 Great Dover Street and their relationship with NIMASA
  • Written to the new head of NIMASA to offer our full cooperation with any investigation.
  • Initiated a search into alternative premises that we could move into at short notice.

Should this fail to be resolved in a positive manner, and the building is proven to be implicated in illegal activity, we would not hesitate to relocate our entire team to an alternative address.

We will continue to monitor this situation and work with all relevant parties, whilst leaving all options on the table. Transparency International UK is proud of our record in standing up to corruption with conviction and principle, and will maintain these standards throughout this process.

 

*Updated February 18 2016

Our investigations have led us to identify to two principle concerns:

1. That the acquisition or retention of the building in 1994 and subsequently may have been part of a corrupt scheme. Equally, it could have formed part of a legitimate business strategy by NIMASA. This is regrettably beyond the scope or expertise of TI-UK to research, and we sincerely hope that the new management of NIMASA in Nigeria will be able to undertake enquiries that will resolve this.

2. That some of the rental payments made by our landlord, CAN Mezzanine, to NIMASA, may not have reached NIMASA but been diverted or ‘skimmed’. We have no evidence to support this, but it is the obvious question for TI-UK and other CAN tenants to ask. We are in correspondence with CAN, who are seeking the answer from NIMASA.

 

*Updated October 7 2015

We have recently met with NIMASA’s London representative to gain more clarity over some of the issues that are of concern.  As a result, the following new fact has come to light and therefore corrects the above statement:

The lease of building in question was acquired by NIMASA in 1994, and not as stated above during the term of the Director General who is under investigation.

 

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Read 26 times Last modified on Monday, 19 September 2016 16:23

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