A prosecution witness for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ishaku Barnabas Wednesday told a Federal High Court, Lagos how he changed United States dollars into Naira through a bureau de change operator on behalf of the former acting director general of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Haruna Baba Jauro.
The witness, who said he is a principal administrative officer at NIMASA testified while giving evidence in the trial of Jauro and two others before Justice Mojisola Olateregu-Ishola.
The other two accused are Dr. Dauda Bistrus Bawa and a firm, Thlumbau Enterprises Limited.
Apart from being a principal administrative officer, the witness said he was the personal assistant to Jauro, when he (Jauro) was the executive director of finance and administration of the agency.
The defendants are pressed with a 19-count charge by the EFCC bordering on stealing and conversion of the agency’s funds to the tune of N169million.
Led in evidence by Rotimi Oyedepo, the witness said, “My boss called me and asked me the rate of US dollars at that point in time. I called a bureau de change man by name, Suleiman Bukar and he told me the rate. I went to my boss and informed him the rate then, which I cannot remember now. He gave me an account, which I took to the bureau de change man to transfer the equivalent of the dollars into his account.
“After the transfer, the bureau de change man came with a teller to NIMASA office to collect the dollars. He gave me the teller and I gave it to my boss and he transferred the equivalent to the bureau de change man.”
Under cross-examination by Olalekan Ojo, counsel to the defendants, the witness said with the 1st accused position as Executive Director, Administration and Finance of NIMASA, he falls into the category of management staff of NIMASA to whom passage allowances were paid on yearly basis and in dollars.
According to him, Jauro worked for four years and received passage allowance for the four years.
“He was also entitled to, and was paid estacode in dollars before he travels. He travelled almost every month. To the best of my knowledge, NIMASA management never accused or queried the 1st accused for diverting funds of the agency,” he stated.
Further trial has been adjourned to June 30.
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