Witness reveals how Calistus Obi stole NIMASA money to build hotel in Asaba

A former acting Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Calistus Obi, allegedly built a hotel in Asaba, the Delta State capital, using the agency’s funds, the Federal High Court in Lagos heard on Wednesday.

He and three companies – Dismass Alu Adoon, Grand Pact Limited and Global Sea Investment Limited were arraigned on eight counts of converting N378,810,000 from NIMASA.

Obi, a former NIMASA Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Service, took over from Patrick Akpobolokemi, who is facing six separate fraud and theft charges as acting NIMASA DG.

An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) investigator Orji Chukwuma said the defendant used NIMASA’s funds to build the hotel.

He said the money was taken from an account opened for NIMASA’s Technical Ratification Committee on Maritime Labour Congress.

Chukwuma said N10million was paid to Seastroke International Ltd which was developing the hotel for Obi.

He said Obi also gave N1million to St Mary’s Catholic Church,  Okija in Anambra State, but the purpose was not disclosed.

According to the witness, Obi personally received N200,000 from the account on February 12, 2014.

The EFCC investigator said a company, Knight and Sheriff, was paid N10million. He said the company’s account was operated by Obi’s special adviser.

Chukwuma said the two companies NIMASA’s funds were paid to never had any business dealing with the agency.

The witness said Obi made several payments to different individuals, including to his wife, using NIMASA’s funds.

Obi had pleaded not guilty to the charge at his arraignment.

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