How NIMASA ex-DG Akpobolokemi laundered N138 million, by witness
•EFCC to appeal ruling on Maina
A prosecution witness, Fredrick Ugo, has told a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos and presided over by Justice A. O. Faji, how one-time Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, allegedly instructed a new generation bank to transfer N138 million into his (testifier) company’s account.
A statement yesterday by the acting spokesman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Tony Orilade, said Akpobolokemi and four others are facing charges bordering on financial malfeasance.
The others are being tried on a 13-count charge relating to diversion of funds to the tune of N754 million. They are Ezekiel Agaba; Ekene Nwakuche; Governor Juan; Vincent Udoye; Adegboyega Olopoenia and a company, Gama Marine Nigeria Limited.
Ugo, an engineer and an Assistant Director with NIMASA, said his company had been in existence long before he joined the organisation in 2013.
According to the seventh prosecution witness, he established the firm when he was a special adviser to a political office holder in Rivers State.
Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, the witness said: “I was using the company for business. It was into construction of roads, schools and medical centres. It was also into maritime logistics and land logistics.”
He claimed the funds in question came from the agency’s Committee on Intelligence Gathering account.
The witness further told the court that he was not a member of the committee, adding that his firm had no transactions with NIMASA either.
But under cross-examination by the defence team, the assistant director said his account details were made available to the committee by the director heading his directorate, pointing out that he was never told why his account details were demanded.
The eighth prosecution witness and an accountant with NIMASA, Victor Onuzuruke, merely gave an introductory testimony that showed that he works in the establishment and knows the defendants.
Consequently, Justice Faji adjourned to March 11 and 12, 2019 for continuation of trial.
Meanwhile, the EFCC is to appeal the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja which restrained it from declaring the chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Malam Abudulrasheed Maina, wanted.
Justice Folasade Giwa Ogunbanjo also granted an order of perpetual injunction restraining the commission and its affiliates or related bodies from further hunting for Maina in relation to an alleged pension scam.
Another statement by Orilade said the pronouncement “amounts to a clog in the wheels of the execution of the agency’s statutory duties.”
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