The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned former Acting Directors-General of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Calistus Obi and Haruna Jauro at the Federal High Court in Lagos for alleged N682.9 million fraud.
Obi, NIMASA’s Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Service, took over from Patrick Akpobolokemi, who is facing five separate fraud charges.
He was relieved of his duties less than a week later, and replaced by Jauro, who was executive director, Finance and Administration.
Four ex-NIMASA chiefs are being tried for corruption-related offences, including Temisan Omatseye, whose case is awaiting judgment.
Jauro was charged with Dr. Dauda Bawa and Thlumbau Enterprises Limited on 19 counts of converting N304.1 million belonging to NIMASA.
EFCC said they conspired on January 6, 2014, to convert N156,477,500 belonging to NIMASA, knowing the money was stolen.
They also allegedly converted N38,170,000 between June 3 and September 1, 2014, “knowing that the sums were proceeds of stealing, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3).”
EFCC said on May 30 and August 14, 2014, they converted N8,500,000.00, property of NIMASA. The prosecution said they did so “knowing that the sums were proceeds of bribery”.
Obi was arraigned on eight counts of converting N378,810,000 from NIMASA. He was charged with three companies – Dismass Alu Adoon, Grand Pact Limited and Global Sea Investment Limited.
Count one reads: “That you, Calistus Nwabueze Obi and Dismass Alu Adoon on or about August 5, 2014, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this court did conspire to commit an offence, to wit: Conversion of N111,000,000, property of NIMASA, knowing that the sums were proceeds of stealing, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3).”
Obi, Global Seal and Grand Pact were said to have converted N42,755,000.00 on December 24, 2013, while Obi, on May 2, 2013, converted N25,000,000, as well as N46.3 million between April 1 and December 11, 2014. EFCC said the amounts were proceeds of stealing.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to all counts.
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun-Ishola granted them bail for N5 million each with two sureties in like sum. The sureties must be property owners with title documents and must produce evidence of a three-year tax clearance.
Their trial will begin on May 17.
EFCC also yesterday re-arraigned the Managing Director of the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Ibrahim Abdulsalam, over stealing.
Abdulsalam is charged alongside six others over alleged stealing and conversion of the agency money amounting to N6.8 billion.
The other accused are: Adegorite Olumuyiwa, Agbolade Segun, Clara Aliche, Joy Adegorite, and two Ltd Liability companies Randville investment Ltd, Multeng Travels and Tours Ltd.
EFCC had on April 7, arraigned the NAMA boss, three directors of the agency and the wife of one of the directors.
They had pleaded not guilty to the charge, while Justice Babs Kuewumi, had adjourned for hearing of their bail application.
Yesterday, the prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo informed the court of an amended charge including the names of two more accused, namelyBola Akinribido and Sesebor Abiodun.
He then prayed the court for the charge to re-read over to the accused for their plea.
All accused pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Justice Kuewumi granted all accused persons bail in the sum of N20 million each with one surety in like sum.
He added that the sureties must have landed property within the jurisdiction of the court which must be verified by the court’s registry and prosecution.
The judge however ordered that the accused persons be remanded in prison custody, pending perfection of their bail condition.
He adjourned the case till April 27 and April 28.
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.