Frabemar UK Limited, technical partner to the consortium—MedTech and Rozi International – has gained the award of a major maritime security contract in Nigeria.
Frabemar UK was engaged by the Nigerian government to administer the country’s International Cargo Tracking Note (ICTN) project.
What remains unclear, is if the Nigerian administration was aware that Frabemar’s contracts with two other African countries – DR Congo and Mali – were terminated and the company charged to court on matters bordering on impropriety and corruption.
Frabemar SRL, a subsidiary within the Frabemar group, is in the business of pre-shipment inspection, in Genoa Italy. Owned by Franco Bernardini, the company was indicted in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mali for corruption and embezzlement of public funds in 2012 and 2015 respectively.
The company was alleged to have serially under-remitted the revenue accruable to those governments, and massively bribed government officials.
The DR Congo’s Office of Multimodal Freight Management, OGEFREM, had in 2019 signed a contract with Frabemar to represent it in various ports around the world by providing a record of all goods destined for the DRC with an electronic import information sheet (Feri).
But the proceeds from the arrangement never made it to the coffers of the Congolese government, reports said, with claims that they were diverted into the pockets of a few people including a former Congolese minister.
Hearing before a magistrate, Francesco Pinto, revealed that Mr Bernardini and his son Massimo Bernardini had paid bribes to former Congolese, Nigerien, and Beninese ministers and politicians.
“These bribes were transferred from a current account opened in Liguria to Monte-Carlo, London and Mauritius,” one report said.
An Italian newspaper, Il Secolo XIX, also reported that the duo paid bribes in exchange for contracts to former ministers and assorted politicians from Congo, Niger, and Benin.
In leaked documents dated April 18, 2012, from the Ministry of Transports and Road Communications of the DRC addressed to the DG, OGEFREM, Frabemar’s contract of four-year with the country was terminated.
Written in French but translated to English, the document stated: “By the order of the hierarchy, justified by the concern of the national interest, I instruct you to proceed with the termination of the special mandate contract which binds OGEFREM to FRABEMAR since April 22, 2008.
“Indeed it is clear that Frabemar has seriously violated the provisions of this contract especially in its articles 2, 3, 4 and 7, by not allowing the Congolese State to benefit from its right.”