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How NIMASA ex-boss used committees to launder funds, by EFCC

By Joseph Onyekwere   |   18 October 2016   |   2:18 am

AkpobolokemiAn operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Kanu Idagu, yesterday narrated how committees set up by Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) were used to launder funds running into billions of naira, before a Federal High Court in Lagos.

Idagu, testifying as a prosecution witness gave the evidence at the resumed trial of Patrick Akpobolokemi, a former Director General of NIMASA. Akpobolokemi is standing trial alongside nine others on a 40-count charge bordering on the offence.

Others charged are Captain Bala Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Felix Bob-Nabena, Captain Warredi Enisouh, Governor Juan, Ugo Frederick and Timi Alari. Also charged are two companies; Al-kenzo Ltd and Penniel Engineering Services Ltd. They had all pleaded not guilty to the charge and were granted bail by the court.

Led in evidence by the prosecutor, Mr. Festus Keyamo, the witness told the court that as head of the EFCC Special task force, he co-ordinates investigations, as well as carry out searches and arrest.

He told the court that the force received a petition in the last quarter of 2015, of some activities in NIMASA, during the period when Akpobolokemi was DG.

According to him, his team embarked on the investigation and in the process, discovered that NIMASA had set up various committees some of which were used to launder monies through companies and the bureau de change.

He said that specifically, a committee on intelligence was set up and headed by the second accused, with an Access Bank account Number 0688939609, opened for the receipt of monies.

The witness said: “Between December 20, 2013 and July 7, 2015, the committee received money in tranches running into N1.5 billion.“The chairman of the committee raised several internal memos to the director of finance and accounts, wherein it was claimed that the funds were to be used for intelligence-based security activities.

“The companies used in furtherance of these activities were either owned or nominated by NIMASA workers for their personal use.”He told the court that one of such companies was Aler Integrated Services Ltd, whose alter ego was one Uche Obilor.

“Another company is Kofa Fada Ltd, a bureau de change company, which the second accused instructed Obilor to transfer the sum of N10 million into. The sum of N2 million was also transferred into the account of one Al-Kenzo Logistics, whose alter ego is the third accused, Ekene Nwakuchey.”

After the witness’ oral testimony, the prosecutor then prayed the court for an adjournment to enable him to present documentary evidence. Consequently, Justice Saliu Saidu adjourned the case to December 15 and 19 for continuation.

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