Akpobolokemi Diverted N1b For Personal Use – Witness Tells Court
SAN FRANCISCO, April 18, (THEWILL) – An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) investigator, Chukwuma Orji, has testified against former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, and others, saying they allegedly converted over N1 billion belonging to the agency to their personal use.
Orji told the Federal High Court in Lagos, on Monday, in Akpobolokemi's trial before Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos that the said money was diverted through different companies and direct withdrawals.
Orji revealed that the EFCC received intelligence that there was a monumental fraud perpetrated by Akpobolokemi using funds meant for a NIMASA committee on International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code.
“NIMASA was appointed the designated ISPS agent in Nigeria on May 23, 2013. Akpobolokemi set up a committee on ISPS chaired by Captain Agaba,” he said.
“On October 2, 2013, Akpobolokemi applied to President Goodluck Jonathan through the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA) headed by Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) for N1,123,400,000 for the implementation of ISPS Code.
“On November 4, 2013, President Jonathan through the NSA approved the money. The approval was signed by Dasuki. The fund was released to NIMASA.
“On January 3, 2014, the money was transferred from NIMASA to the Committee on ISPS account in which Agaba and others are signatories based on Akpobolokemi's directive.
“Out of the sum slated for ISPS, the sum of N1,000,258,666 was fraudulently converted by the accused persons and their accomplices in a grand conspiracy.”
Akpobolokemi has been charged alongside a former Executive Director, Maritime Safety and Shipping Development at NIMASA, Captain Ezekiel Agaba, his aides, Ekene Nwakuche and Governor Juan as well as Blockz and Stonz Limited, Kenzo Logistics Limited and Al-Kenzo Logistic Limited.
They were accused of converting N2,658,957,666 between December 23, 2013 and May 28 last year to which they pleaded not guilty.
Story by David Oputah