The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has alleged that a former Director-General of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi and nine others converted N1.5 billion from the agency’s intelligence committee.
Prosecution witness Kanu Idagu yesterday told the Federal High Court in Lagos that the defendants set up several committees through which they allegedly laundered billions of Naira.
The defendants are being tried for a 40-count charge of converting to their personal use, over N3.4 billion belonging to NIMASA.
The second to seventh defendants are Capt Bala Agaba; Ekene Nwakuche; Felix Bob-Nabena; Capt Warredi Enisouh; Governor Juan; Ugo Frederick and Timi Alari.
Also charged are two companies – Al-kenzo Ltd and Penniel Engineering Services Ltd.
They were alleged to have committed the offences between December 2013 and July 2015.
According to the EFCC, the offences contravened sections 15 (1), (3), and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (prohibition) Amendment Act, 2012.
The defendants were admitted to bail after pleading not guilty.
At resumption of trial yesterday, Idagu introduced himself as head of an EFCC Special Task Force, which co-ordinates investigations and carries out searches and arrest.
Led in evidence by prosecuting counsel Festus Keyamo, he said the commission received a petition in the last quarter of 2015, on NIMASA during the Akpobolokemi’s tenure.
His team, Idagu added, investigated and found that NIMASA set up various committees for laundering money through firms and bureaux de change.
He mentioned a committee on intelligence headed by the second defendant (Agaba), with an Access Bank account 0688939609 opened for the receipt of money.
“Between December 20, 2013, and July 7, 2015, the committee received money in tranches, running into N1.5 billion.
“The chairman of the committee raised several internal memos to the director of Finance and Accounts, wherein it was claimed that the funds were to be used for intelligence-based security activities.
“The companies used in furtherance of these activities were either owned or nominated by NIMASA staff for their personal use,” Idagu said
According to the witness, one of such companies was Aler Integrated Services Ltd, whose head was Uche Obilor.
He added: “Another company is Kofa Fada Ltd, a bureau de change, which the second defendant instructed Obilor to transfer N10 million into.
“Two million naira was also transferred into the account of Al-Kenzo Logistics, whose alter ego is the third accused, Ekene Nwakuche.
“The second defendant also made a claim of a business contract between NIMASA and Kofa Fada Ltd, with N26 million transferred to the company’s account, while the dollar equivalent was handed to him.
“The second defendant also transferred N86 million to Usseinian Ltd and the dollar equivalent transferred to him.”
The witness identified the third defendant (Nwakuche), who was personal assistant to the second defendant, as the person responsible for coordinating accounts for the purpose of diverting money.
He said the third defendant formulated an Enterprise Bank account in the name of Adams CDA Global Services, belonging to one of his friends, into which he transferred N120 million.
He claimed that the dollar equivalent was handed over to the second defendant.
The witness alleged that the third defendant also nominated an Access Bank account for Gidoga Investment Ltd, into which N65 million was transferred.
He said in all N422.680 million was transferred to the second defendant, who claimed that same was remitted to the first defendant.
After the witness’ oral testimony, the prosecutor prayed the court for an adjournment to enable him present documentary evidence.
Justice Saliu Saidu upheld his application and adjourned till December 15 and 19 for continuation of trial.