The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has alleged that a former Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi and nine others converted N1.5 billion from the agency’s intelligence committee.
Prosecution witness, Kanu Idagu, yesterday told the Federal High Court in Lagos, that the defendants set up several committees through which they allegedly laundered billions of Naira.
The defendants are standing trial on a 40-count charge bordering on conversion to their personal uses, of over N3.4 billion belonging to NIMASA.
The second to seventh defendants 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 were alleged to have committed the offences between December 2013 and July 2015.
According to the EFCC, the offences contravened Sections 15 (1), (3), and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (prohibition) Amendment Act, 2012.
The defendants are on bail after pleading not guilty to the charge.
At the resumption of trial yesterday, Idagu introduced himself as head of an EFCC Special Task Force which coordinates investigations and carries out searches and arrest.
Led in evidence by prosecuting counsel, Festus Keyamo, he said the commission received a petition in the last quarter of 2015, against some activities in NIMASA, during the period when Akpobolokemi was DG.
His team, Idagu added, investigated the allegations and found that NIMASA had set up various committees some of which were used to launder monies through firms and Bureau de Changes.
He specified that a committee on intelligence was set up and headed by the second defendant (Agaba), with an Access Bank account number 0688939609 opened for the receipt of monies.
“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 staffs for their personal use,” Idagu said
According to the witness, one of such companies was Aler Integrated Services Ltd, whose alter ego was one Uche Obilor.
He added, “Another company is Kofa Fada Ltd, a bureau de change company which the second defendant 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 Nwakuche.
“The second defendant also made a claim of a business contract between NIMASA and one Kofa Fada Ltd, with the sum of N26 million transferred to the company’s account, while the dollar equivalent was handed to him.
“The second defendant also transferred the sum of N86 million to one Usseinian Ltd and the dollar equivalent transferred to him.”
The witness identified the third defendant (Nwakuche) who was Personal Assistant to the second defendant, as the person responsible for coordinating accounts for the purpose of diverting money.
He said that the third defendant formulated an Enterprise Bank account in the name of Adams CDA Global Services, belonging to one of his friends, into which he transferred the sum of N120 million.
He claimed that the dollar equivalent was handed over to the second defendant.
The witness alleged that the third defendant also nominated an Access Bank account for Gidoga Investment Ltd, into which the sum of N65 million was transferred.
He said that in all, a total of N422, 680 million was directly transferred to the second defendant, who claimed that same was remitted to the first defendant.
After the witness’ oral testimony, the prosecutor prayed the court for an adjournment to enable him present documentary evidence.
Justice Saliu Saidu upheld his application and adjourned till December 15 and 19 for continuation of trial.
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