18th January, 2016
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, southwest Nigeria, has been told how part of the N2.6 billion alleged to have been stolen by former Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Director-General Patrick Akpobolokemi, was disbursed.
Akpobolokemi was arraigned before Justice Ibrahim Buba along with three others – Captain Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan – and three companies, namely Blockz and Stonz Limited, Kenzo Logistics Limited and Al-Kenzo Logistics Limited.
In a 22-count charge by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), they were accused of converting a total of N2,658,957,666 between 23 December, 2013 and 28 May, 2015.
The accused who pleaded not guilty to all the counts are currently on bail.
EFCC’s first witness, Teslim Ajuwon, who is the Compliance Officer at Zenith Bank Plc, while being led in evidence by EFCC prosecuting counsel Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that he is responsible for inquiries from regulatory agencies such as the EFCC, the Nigerian Police, NDLEA, among others.
He said he received enquiries from EFCC for a report of activities on some accounts, including Aruwo Consulting Limited, Extreme Vertex Limited, Southern Options Limited, Green Lemon Services and Committee on ISPS, adding that the bank received a request to produce account opening mandate of the companies as well as their financial statements.
The witness said the fourth accused, Governor Juan, was paid N11 million on 9 September, 2014, while Kenzo Logistics, also another accused got N10 million the same day for the Committee on ISPS account.
Ajuwon also said there was an inflow of N14.2 million on June 17, 2014 from Access Bank; N21.2 million on March 5, 2015; N16 million on May 5, 2015; and N21.2 million on June 18, 2015 and the monies were later disbursed, leaving only N1.4 million as balance on June 18, 2015.
Ajuwon further told the court that the said N10 million was transferred to Uchenna Emenalo last June 19; while another N11 million was transferred to him the same day.
On August 29, 2014, there was a credit of N795.2 million into the Committee on ISPS account from NIMASA.
The witness said it was followed by several payments amounting to N27 million to Ekene Nwauche between September 16 and November 18, 2014.
According to him, N318 million was paid to Extreme Bracket on November 6, 2014, while Avant Guard Security Services got N94 million.
Several other companies also received payments. On last January 8, Soko Global Services got N15.7 million; Alfa Convoy got N6.9 million; R-World Consulting got N70 million, while O2 Services Plus Limited got N21.2 million last March 5.
Ajuwon said last May 28, NIMASA made a lodgment of N447 million, which was also disbursed to different companies. They include N95 million to Avant Guard on May 28; N46 million to R-World Consulting; and N7 million to Green Lemon Consulting.
During cross-examination by Akpbolokemi’s lawyer, the witness said he did not see the first accused’s name in the documents he tendered.
Justice Buba adjourned till Tuesday, 19 January, 2016 for continuation of trial.