Funds Diversion: An EFCC Detective’s Testimony Against Amosu

Adesola Amosu, Air Force, EFCC, NIMASA, Tosin OwoboA witness has told a court how a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, and two other Air Force chiefs, diverted the sum of three billion naira paid to the Nigerian Air Force by the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

Mr Tosin Owobo, an Assistant Detective Superintendent with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), said the money was paid in response to a request made to the Director General of NIMASA at the time, Mr Patrick Akpobolokemi, by Air Marshal Amosu for assistance on maritime security.

The EFCC detective, a third prosecution witness, made the testimony on Wednesday in continuation of the trial of the former Air Force chiefs at the Federal High Court in Lagos State, southwest Nigeria.

He informed the court that investigations revealed that there was a Memorandum of Understanding between NIMASA and the Nigerian Air Force.

In furtherance of the memo, NIMASA in 2013 paid the sum of one billion Naira and 480 million Naira to the Nigerian Air Force under the leadership of former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Alex Badeh.

In continuation of the agreement in 2014, the EFCC official testified that Mr Amosu wrote to Mr Akpobolokemi, requesting four billion Naira, as the cash amount needed for maritime security.

Mr Akpobolokemi was said to have instead approved the payment of three billion Naira, a sum which was reportedly released in three tranches of one billion Naira each between August and September 2014, and paid into a Nigerian Air Force Special Emergency Operations Account.

The witness added that authorisation for the three billion Naira to be paid into the special account was given by the Director of Accounts, Air Vice Marshal Jacob Bola Adigun, the second defendant in this case.

He, however, said that the monies were purportedly transferred from the special account to various oil and gas companies, all of whom have now been listed in the charge alongside the three Air Force chiefs.

The court admitted in evidence, the statements of accounts of the oil companies allegedly involved.

However, a move by the EFCC Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, to get the witness to delve into some of the content of the documents was rebuffed by the defence team.

The defence counsels objected the move on the grounds that the witness was not the maker of the documents neither was there an authentication obtained.

Justice Mohammed Idris consequently adjourned till Thursday, February 26 to rule on whether the witness can answer questions based on the documents and for continuation of the trial.

National Shipping Line To Operate On PPP Basis, NIMASA Says

NIMASA, Peterside DakukuNigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) says the proposed national shipping line will be managed on a Public–Private Partnership (PPP) basis.

The Director General of NIMASA, Mr Peterside Dakuku, disclosed this to reporters on Monday in Lagos State, southwest Nigeria.

Making clarifications on the proposed national shipping line, Mr Dakuku said funding of the national carrier would come from the private sector.

He also stated that Nigeria has signed to several protocols that would help detect, rid and tackle pirates as well as security breaches on its waterways.

House Holds Public Hearing On Revenue Leakages In NIMASA

House of Representatives, NIMASAThe House of Representatives says it expects that the revenue generated by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) be used for public good and not for private interests.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, gave the charge on Wednesday in Abuja, during the public hearing on revenue leakages and operational deficiencies in NIMASA.

Speaker Dogara expressed hope that with the new leadership in the agency and from the result expected from the investigation, revenue from the agency would flow into government coffers.

The Chairman, House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Honourable Mohammed Bago, on his part made it clear that the investigation was to ensure that government gets its due.

The Director General of NIMASA, Mr Peterside Dakuku, outlined some of the challenges confronting the agency.

Agreeing with the Speaker, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transportation, Sabiu Zakari, said that the government was also carrying out a full investigation into all the operations of the agency.

The House Committee is expected to submit its report to the House for consideration and adoption.

Alleged Fraud: Court Remands Army General, Others In Prison

Court, Army, EFCCA Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the remand of a former Commander of the Joint Task Force, Major General Emmanuel Atewe, and two other accused persons, Kime Engozu and Josphine Otuaga, in prison.

The court’s remand order was made on Friday after their arraignment alongside a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr Patrick Akpolobokemi.

The accused face an 11-count charge of conspiracy, fraud, stealing and conversion of the sum of 19.7 billion Naira to personal use.

The accused persons all pleaded not guilty while their lawyers asked Justice Saliu Saidu to grant them bail.

However, their application was denied and the matter adjourned till June 24 for commencement of trial.

Lawmakers Investigate Alleged NIMASA $10bn Remittance Discrepancies

House-of-Representatives-NigeriaThe House of Representatives has opened an investigation into the non-remittance and under remittance of over $10 billion as revenues by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), over a period of eight years.

In a motion sponsored by Honourable Chukwudi Onyereri, the lawmaker expressed his concern that this ineffectiveness by the agency had deprived the country of needed revenue.

“Over the years, NIMASA has been very ineffective in execution of its mandate, a situation that has resulted in financial leakages, maritime insecurity and operational decline of the agency.

“The House is aware of cases of revenue losses arising from leakages in three per cent levy on wet and dry cargoes, two per cent surcharge and other revenues sources put at $10 billion over a period of eight years,” Honourable Onyereri stressed.

Chukwudi Onyereri on NIMASA
Chukwudi Onyereri

He also drew that attention of the House to the export lifting of crude oil by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and IOCs which he said were based on Free On Board instead of Cost Insurance and Freight charges and carried out without interface with NIMASA for the purpose of enforcing the payment of the three per cent levy.

“The House is concerned that the two per cent Cabotage weaver Fees meant to fund the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund for indigenous capacity building are being invaded by the IOCs and other major foreign shipping companies operating in the country,”  he further stated.

After deliberations on the issue, the House mandated a joint committee to consider and track compliance by NIMASA and report back to them in six weeks.

Meanwhile, the former Director General of NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi and six others are facing trial on a 13-count charge of forgery & stealing of about 754.7 million Naira.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned them before Justice Raliat Adebiyi on January 25.

The EFCC specifically accused the defendants of converting to their personal use a sum of 346.8 million Naira released to them by NIMASA, a sum meant for the implementation of Voluntary International Maritime Organisation Member State Audit Scheme.

They were also accused of forging a document of “request for payment as consultant for VIMSAS services” with an intent to commit fraud.

The offences are said to be contrary to Section 409 and punishable under Section 285 (1) of the Criminal Code Laws of Lagos State 2011.

The defendants had all pleaded not guilty.