Extortion: SIFAX Group Introduces ‘Whistle Blower’ Policy

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The issue of extortion has become a culture in the maritime sector. To curb this, a major stakeholder in the industry, the SIFAX Group, has announced a whistle blower policy aimed at addressing the issue by way of also checkmating the operational activities of its staff.

Sifax’s Head of Corporate Communications, SIFAX Group, Mr. Muyiwa Akande who made this known, disclosed that its management had  recently constituted “a kind of whistle blower policy” that has resulted in the dismissal of some staff, affirming that the organisation is a customer oriented conglomerate.

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Akande while reacting on the protest embarked on by members of the Association of Registered Freight Forwarders in Nigeria (AREEFN) , Kirikiri Lighter Terminal (KLT) Chapter, over alleged delays on the clearance of consignments from Ports and Cargo Handling Services, Tin Can Island Port to the Kirikiri Lighter Terminal (KLT) facility, noted that the policy began in December 2020 . He revealed that some staff have been asked to leave the employment of the company owing to what he called “sharp practices” at the terminal through the whistle blowing mechanism.”

Assuring that the complaints of freight forwarders which has led to protest at the Port and Cargo Terminal, would have been completely addressed, Akande reiterated that his firm would always give a listening ear to its stakeholders and partners which he noted the freight agents constitute a major part of.

The image maker disclosed that the company’s management has had a fruitful deliberation with the protesters and has also constituted a four man committee to resolve the issues and grievances raised by the protesters.

Akande assured freight agents that  all their containers will be  transferred out of the port to the off dock terminal.

Commenting on the issue of delay, the image maker clarified that demurrage payment is legitimate, but added  that  “if there are cases of force majeure, as in cases of road construction which cause delay in movement, the customer is considered and not made to pay demurrage over the period of the delay.

The aggrieved members of the Association of Registered Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (AREFFN) KLT Chapter , had earlier protested what they term the undue delays in cargo clearance, illegal transfers of cargoes from one terminal to the other.

They alleged that the unlawful imposition of fees by the management of the Ports and Cargo Handling Services Limited, a subsidiary of SIFAX Group, had led to hardship for shippers and freight forwarders. The protest took place in front of the  SIFAX Group’s Corporate Head Office.

The Secretary of AREFFN KLT Branch,  Stephen Chukwuka, accused  management of the Ports and Cargo Handling Services Limited of electing not to do their duty of effectively facilitating the speedy transfer of Containers from their terminal because of selfish reasons. He said that  management of the terminal deliberately delay cargo clearance in other for cargoes to incur demurrage, which cost about N12, 500 per container daily.

Chukwuka also accused the management of moving their containers from one terminal to the other and making them to pay the costs. Amongst his other allegations were that the management extorts from them N40, 000 for every container that leaves the P&CHSL terminal.

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