How Akpobolokemi, others spent N18m on massage chairs — Witness

Akpobolokemi
PHOTO CREDIT: SHIPS & PORTS

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday heard that a former Director General of the Nigeria Maritime and Administration Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, and his management team spent the agency’s N18 million meant for intelligence gathering, on massage chairs for themselves.

A prosecution witness, Mrs. Margaret Ekong, told Justice Ayokunle Faji that she supplied the chairs to Akpobolokemi and that he took delivery of the three chairs allotted to him.

She claimed that he took one to his house on Banana Island, Lagos; one to his mother’s house and the last one to his house in Delta State.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) witness said the second defendant in the case, Captain Bala Agaba, took two chairs, while some other persons took possession of theirs.

She said funds voted for intelligence gathering were used to pay for the massage chairs.

Agaba, who is NIMASA’s former Executive Director Operations, is currently serving a seven-year jail term on another charge bordering on breach of trust.

Led in evidence by EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo; Ekong said she submitted the names of two companies for the contract. The chairs, she said, were supplied in 2013 and payment was made in 2014, following a series of reminders.

When Oyedepo asked the witness where she got payment for the chairs from, she said it was from NIMASA.

The ninth prosecution witness, Ekene Nwakuche, claimed that he was in charge of all financial transactions in Agaba’s office. Nwakuche said he joined NIMASA in 2013 and was seconded as a Personal Assistant (PA) to Agaba.

He also told the court that the branch of a new generation bank on the ground floor of the NIMASA building in Apapa was used for the transactions.

Justice Faji adjourned till November 29, 30, and December 1, for continuation of the trial.



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