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‘How NIMASA transferred N8.5b into joint task force account’




A prosecution witness for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Teslim Ajuwon, yesterday narrated how N8.5 billion was transferred from the account of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) into the account of the joint task force Operation Pulo Shield.

Ajuwon, a compliance officer with a first generation bank, gave this evidence at the commencement of trial of a former Commander of the Military Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta, Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Atewe at the federal high court, Lagos.

Atewe is charged alongside a former Director-General of NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi, Kime Engozu and Josephine Otuaga over N8.5 billion fraud.

EFCC is prosecuting them on a 11-count charge bordering on the offence.

When the case was called yesterday, the prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, led Ajuwon, his first witness (PW1) in evidence-in-chief.

Ajuwon said NIMASA made an in-flow of cash to the tune of N8.5 billion, on the whole into the account of the Joint Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield.

He also informed the court that between September 5, and September 16, 2014 a total of N1.8 billion was moved from the said account, into the accounts of Jaggan Ltd, Paper House Service Ltd, East Point Services Ltd and Al-nald Ltd.

“On September 3, 2014, there was a Nigeria Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT) of the sum of N2.4 billion to the account of joint task force, Operation Pulo Shield, and this was from NIMASA.

“On October 30, 2014, there was another transfer of the sum of N2.4 billion by NIMASA, into the same account of the joint task force; on April, 30, 2015, there was also a transfer of N1 billion from NIMASA into the same account.

“Again, on May 11, 2015, there was a transfer by NIMASA, of the sum of N1.7 billion into the same account of the joint task force, while the following day May 12, 2015, there was another transfer of N1 billion by NIMASA into the same account,” the witness narrated.

According to the witness, these amounts represented the in-flow of cash into the account of the joint task force, between September 3, 2014 and May 12, 2015, by NIMASA.

From the account of the joint task force, he explained that a cumulative transfer of N150 million was made to Jaggan Ltd, N100 million transferred to paper house Ltd, N100 million transferred to Al-nald Ltd, and N150 million transferred to East point services Ltd.

Trial judge, Saliu Saidu has adjourned the case to October 19, today for continuation of trial.

In the charge, the anti-graft agency alleged that the accused conspired to defraud NIMASA of N8.5 billion using six companies.

The EFCC claimed that the accused committed the alleged fraud between September 5, 2014 and May 20, 2015. The accused had all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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