Witness reveals how Akpbolokemi paid N40m rent for two years in Banana Island


 Patrick Akpolobokemi
Patrick Akpolobokemi

An operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Orji Chukwuma, while being led in evidence by the EFCC Prosecutor Rotimi Oyedepo on Wednesday told a Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos Southwest Nigeria, how the former Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Ziadeke Akpolobokemi, paid N40 million for two years rent in Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Chukwuma is the eleventh witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the ongoing trial of the former NIMASA Director-General.

Akpobolokemi alongside, Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Blockz and Stonz Limited and Al-Kenzo Logistics Limited, were first arraigned before Justice Ibrahim Buba on December 4, 2015, for allegedly defrauding NIMASA to the tune of N2.6 billion between March and June 2014.

At the resumed trial of the accused persons Wednesday , Chukwuma, tendered three documents; receipt for the rent, receipt for Toyota Landcruiser Jeep bullet proof, and Asset Declaration Form, which were admitted and marked as exhibits P63 and 64, and 65, respectively.

The EFCC operative told the court further that Akpolobokemi paid a total sum of N40 million in three tranches of N12 million; N14 million and N14 million, for 2013, and 2014.

The witness also told the court that the former NIMASA Director-General paid N38.5 million to Vision Motors, for the Toyota Landcruiser Jeep bullet proof.

He said Akpolobokemi paid the money in five tranches of N4 million, N4 million, N4 million, N4 million, N4 million, N4 million, N4, 650, million and N10 million, between November 11, 2011, and June 19, 2013, adding that the N10 million cash paid by the former Director-General was above the official threshold.

The witness disclosed further that the accused in his Asset Declaration Form, stated that he has a property worth N42 million, a Toyota Landcruiser Jeep Bullet Proof of N22.5 million. But EFCC discovered that the accused received a cash sum which were in dollars and which were also proceeds of crime, that he used in acquiring the said properties.

Chukwuma told the court that the accused who was a former lecturer at the Niger Delta University where he earned a little above N100, 000 per month, had in his account at Access Bank opened for payment of all his emoluments at NIMASA running into over N154 million, which he never touched.

The Presiding judge Ibrahim Buba adjourned till November 26 and 29 for continuation of trial.

In the charge, EFCC alleged that Akpobolokemi and the other accused persons converted for their personal use the sum of N2.6b belonging to NIMASA.

The prosecution alleged that on or about February 2014 in Lagos, the accused persons conspired and converted N437,726,666.60 belonging to NIMASA, to their personal use.

On January 9, 2014 and April and August, 2014, they also converted to their own use, the sum of N21, 802, 000 and additional N53,749, 000.00, and N66,800.000 property of NIMASA.

The offences are contrary to and punishable under Section 18 (a) and 15 (3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition/Amendment) Act of 2012.

All the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the offences and are currently on bail.