N754.7m theft: NIMASA staff disowns confessional statement

Akpobolokemi

Ekene Nwakuche, one of the defendants standing alongside a former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Patrick Akpobolokemi, for alleged fraud of N754.7m, says he was coerced by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to make confessional statements.

Nwakuche said this on Monday at the resumed proceedings in the case before Justice Raliat Adebiyi of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja.

The defendant, who was led in evidence by his counsel, Seni Adio (SAN), during a trial-within-trial told the court that one of the operatives of the anti-graft agency, Orji Chukwuma, tricked him into writing his statements in the EFCC office.

”I told him I am Agaba’s personal assistance and he showed me where to sign; he told me to write about myself and I asked why I should, he said I was their guest and it is normal for their guest to do so.

“He showed me some documents and said I should write about them, and I told him I needed my lawyer but he said I didn’t need a lawyer in this case, that I was just there to corroborate my boss.

“At the EFCC office, they tell you what to write, what to do and when to do it.

“I felt more relaxed when the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, said I was too young and I was not the one they needed, that I should just corroborate my boss to nail Patrick.

“I didn’t have any reason to believe that I would be charged to court because Oyedepo assured me and said that the highest he could do was to use me as a prosecution witness,” Nwakuche said.

Justice Adebiyi adjourned till March 29, 2017 for adoption of final addresses in the trial-within-trial.