NIMASA ex-boss received payments from Tompolo through proxy firms, says witness
A prosecution witness for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mohammed Ghali yesterday told a federal high court in Lagos that the former director general of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi received payments from Tompolo’s Global West Vessel Specialists Limited (GWVSL) through some proxy companies.
The witness, who is an investigator with the EFCC gave the evidence while testifying in the trial of the former NIMASA boss and others with an aid of a projector.
Government Ekpomukpolo, popularly known as Tompolo, now at large, was charged with Akpobolokemi, GWVSL, Odimiri Electricals Limited, Kemi Engozu, Bolbbere Property and Estate Limited, Rex Elem, Destre Consult Limited, Gregory Mbonu and Captain Warredi Enisuoh.
EFCC, in the 40-count charge before Justice Buba, said the suspects allegedly diverted N34 billion for personal use.
According to Ghali, the companies are Bolbbere Property and Estate Limited, which received the sum of N199.7million through its Zenith Bank Account No. 1013983247. “The company was incorporated on June 9, 2014 by one Simon John Adonmene as major shareholder, Alu M.A Awou and Young Matthias, with registered address as Block C6, 412, 1004 Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos, the same flat where Personal Assistant to the then DG resides. Upon execution of search warrant, sensitive document belonging to the then DG were recovered”, he told Justice Ibrahim Buba.
Ghali said in continuation of the suspected kickback, Gokiad Marine Oil and Gas Limited received N1.4billion while Oyeinteke Global Network Nigeria Limited received N1 billion from GWVSL.
He said Elem got a total sum of N116.5million through his company named as Destre Consult Limited, stating that Gregory Nbonu of GWVSL made the payment.
The witness also said GWVSL defrauded NIMASA by over N24billion for a security contract through a fraudulent benchmark.
Led in evidence by EFCC prosecutor Rotimi Oyedepo, the first prosecution witness (PW1) said NIMASA and Tompolo’s company entered into a public private partnership (PPP) agreement on April 3, 2012.
The agreement was for, among others, “improvement of security within the Nigeria maritime domain, improvement in data collection, improvement of cabotage and revenue generation enforcement, improvement of safety of life at sea and enhancement of search and rescue, improvement in pollution control and management leading to cleaner waters.”
The witness said the fraud began when a benchmark for sea protection levy was altered, adding that despite protests by a NIMASA director Victor Onwuzuruike, the alteration was approved by Akpobolokemi.