The Lagos State High Court, Igbosere, yesterday heard how a total of N342.5 million was allegedly transferred by a Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA) staff into the accounts of a Bureau De Change (BDC) operator.
The BDC operator, Chima Anyasor, testified Wednesday before Justice Raliat Adebiyi that the N342.5m was paid into two of his companies’ accounts through NIMASA official, Ekene Nwakuche.
The witness, who was led in evidence by EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, said the payments were made between February 2015 and June 2015, but from the ‘National Maritime Authority (NMA)’.
He mentioned the name of his companies as Jeo Bureau de Change, ADA CDA Global Resources Ltd, Caadex Oil and Gas Ltd and a hotel.
Anyasor gave his testimony during the continuation of trial in the case of the former NIMASA Director-General (D-G) Patrick Akpobolokemi and six others, accused of stealing N754.7 million.
Akpobolokemi is standing trial on a 13-count charge bordering on stealing alongside Captain Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Vincent Udoye, Captain Olopoenia and a company, Gama Marine Nigeria Ltd.
Anyasor told the court that he had no contract with NIMASA but was able to receive these monies because he had a relationship with the third defendant, Nwakuche.
He said that sometime in 2015, Nwakuche approached him and told him that his company (NIMASA) was sourcing for dollars.
“A few days after my discussion with Nwakuche, he sent an SMS that some money had been paid into my account,” Anyasor stated.
The witness told the court that on February 27, 2015, he received a total sum of N111.5 million in his account.
He stated that another sum of N140 million was paid into his account between June 17 and 18, 2015.
The witness also said that the sum of N91 million was transferred into his account and that on March 3, 2015, he transferred a total sum of N20 million into the second defendant, Captain Ezekiel Agaba’s account.
“On March 4, 2015, I transferred N10 million into the account of one Blocks and Stones Industry.
“I transferred these monies from the N91 million and I got the accounts of the second defendant from Nwakuche,” he said.
During cross-examination the witness admitted that he neither knew Akpobolokemi and nor why he was facing trial.
“I don’t know what the monies which were transferred to my company’s account were meant for.
“I considered the transaction I engaged in to be a normal course of business.
“I have been friends with Nwakuche and I consider him trustworthy, that was why I engaged in the transactions with him, and I didn’t consider issuing receipts to him concerning the transactions,” the witness said.
Justice Adebiyi adjourned the case till June 1 for continuation of trial.
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