11th Witness Testifies Against Former Director, DG Of NIMASA

Akpobolokemi--NIMASAThe 11th prosecution witness, One Eboigbe Etiosa, has told the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos that Mr. Ezekiel Agaba, one of the directors of the Nigerian Maritime Administration & Safety Agency (NIMASA) bought a piece of land for N70m in Lekki area of Lagos.

The director is being tried alongside a former Director-General of NIMASA, Patrick Akpolobokemi, for allegedly diverting N2.6bn meant for the implementation of International Ship and Port Security code at NIMASA.

Led in evidence by the EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, Etiosa claimed to have been introduced to Agaba by a friend.

Mr Etiosa, who described himself as an estate agent and surveyor, carrying out estate valuation and buying and selling properties, said Agaba was his client.

He claimed to have sold a piece of land to Agaba at Northern Foreshore Estate, Lekki for the sum of N70m.

He claimed that Agaba paid for the land in two instalments of N40m and N30m on January 15 and 20, 2014 respectively.

He said the monies were paid into his account with the Eric Moore branch of Zenith Bank.

“On January 15, 2014, I received N40m from Ace Prosthesis Limited. On January 20, 2014, I received the balance of N30m from Aker Integrated Services Limited.

“Actually, I do not know these two companies. After negotiation of price by the parties, I forwarded my account number to Capt. Agaba and my account was credited. And it was the money that I used to purchase the property,” Etiosa said.

He affirmed that the money received from the two companies was not for a contract but for the purpose of purchasing a piece of land for Agaba at Lekki.

He claimed to have acquired the land he sold to Agaba from one David Anasudo.

Justice Ibrahim Buba adjourned till March 23, 2016 for Etiosa to be cross-examined by the defence.

Akpobolokemi, Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Blockz and Stonz Limited and Al-Kenzo Logistics Limited are being tried for allegedly diverting N2.6bn meant for the implementation of International Ship and Port Security code at NIMASA.
The ISPS Code is to enable the agency carry out security checks on vessels entering into the country.

The defendants were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission before Justice Ibrahim Buba of a Federal High Court in Lagos on December 4, 2015.

The 22 counts against them bordered on theft, advanced fee fraud and money laundering contrary to Section 8 (a) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amended) Act, 2012.

The accused, however, pleaded not guilty following which the EFCC opened its case against them.

NIMASA Fraud: Court Admits More Exhibits Against Akpobolokemi, Others

Akpobolokemi--NIMASAA Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has admitted more exhibits against a former Director- General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi and five others.

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Tuesday, prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, presented one of the three witnesses he earlier brought before the court.

The witness, Olamide Ogunsanya, an Assistant Director in NIMASA disclosed to the court, how the sum of 795,200,000 Naira was paid into the International Shipping and Port Safety (ISPS), account and how the same amount was disbursed.

The witness told the court that approval for the disbursement of the money came from the office of Mr Akpobolokemi.

The document conveying the presidential approval through the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), was identified by the witness and same was admitted as exhibit P22.

On the document, Mrs Ogunsanya identified the endorsement of the first accused person, Akpobolokemi.

Also tendered through the witness, are letters from NIMASA to the Accountant General of Federation and approval from the Accountant General’s office.

The documents were eventually admitted as exhibits P24 and P25 respectively.

The witness also identified the third accused person, Ekene Nwakuche as the first beneficiary in the disbursement of the 795,200,000 Naira.

She told the court that between September 16, 2014 and November 6, 2014, Nwakuche received 3,000,000 Naira each, on eight occasions, from the ISPS account totalling 28,000,000 Naira.

Other beneficiaries are Avant Guard Securities, 94,000,000 Naira; Extreme Vertex Limited, 318,000,000 Naira ; Suco Global, 15,000,000 Naira; O2 Services Limited, 21,200,000 Naira and 16,000,000 Naira; and Aroward Consulting, 70,000,000 Naira.

The witness said that there was a balance of 198, 635 Naira (left in the account).

While explaining the procedure for receiving and disbursing money in NIMASA, Mrs Ogunsanya said that a request would be made to the presidency through the NSA’s office and when approved, the DG would ask the Executive Director to implement.

”From the executive director’s office, an internal memo was raised and directed to the Director, Financial Services Department where payment instructions would be issued.”

The witness further disclosed that on March 20, 2014, the sum of 447, 000,000 Naira was paid into the ISPS account and same was disbursed following the same procedure, with a slight change in the beneficiaries.

In this instance, new beneficiaries were included. They are: Green Lemon Limited and Seabulk.

Mr Oyedepo asked the witness about the procedure for the award of contracts in NIMASA and she said the agency had different threshold in terms of contracts award, as stipulated by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

She said that the DG had an approval limit of 5,000,000 Naira. For contracts that exceeded 5,000,000 Naira to anything below 50,000,000 Naira, which she also said fell  into the threshold of parastatal’s tenders board.

Contracts that are between 50,000,000 Naira to below 100,000,000 Naira, falls under the threshold of ministerial tenders board and any contract above 100,000,000 Naira falls within the presidential or Federal Executive Council’s threshold.

The 318,000,000 Naira payment to Extreme Vertex Limited was sighted as example of violation of BPP’s stipulated threshold by the former leadership of NIMASA.

Mrs Ogunsanya said that though, the normal procedure for awarding contract was always followed, she never met or saw any representative from any of the companies that were alleged to have been awarded the purported contracts.

During cross examination, the witness admitted that she was one of the signatories to the ISPS account.

But when she was asked whether she was aware of the 2013/14 National Assembly’s budgetary appropriation for the sum of 447,000,000 Naira, Mrs Ogunsanya said that she had to look at the budget to be able to answer the question.

Counsel to Akpobolokemi, Joseph Nwobike, prayed the court for an adjournment in order to effectively cross examine the witness.

Justice Buba adjourned the matter to Wednesday, March 2, 2016 for continuation of trial.

Mr Akpobolokemi is standing trial, alongside five others, on a 13- count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing and fraudulent conversion of funds, to the tune of 687, 294, 680 Naira.

His co-accused persons are: Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba; Ekene Nwakuche; Governor Amechee Juan; Vincent Udoye, Captain Ade Sahib Olopoenia and Gama Marine Nigeria Limited.

687mln Naira Scam: Akpobolokemi Challenges Court’s Jurisdiction

Akpobolokemi--NIMASAA former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, has challenged the jurisdiction of a Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere, to entertain his trial.

Defence Counsel of Mr Akpobolokemi, Joseph Nwobike, on Monday questioned the competence of the court to preside over the case.

Mr Akpobolokemi is standing trial alongside five others on a 13-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing and fraudulent conversion of funds, to the tune of 687, 294, 680 Naira.

His co-accused persons are Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Amechee Juan, Vincent Udoye, Captain Ade Sahib Olopoenia and Gama Marine Nigeria Limited.

Nwobike hinged his objection to the jurisdiction of the court on claims that, “only the Federal High Court has exclusive jurisdiction over matters and cases arising from, pertaining to, or connected with the revenue of the Federal Government of Nigeria and its agencies”.

He was joined by Counsel to the fourth defendant, Ige Asemudara, who also brought an application for preliminary objection before the court.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Raliat Adebiyi, ordered the Defense Counsels to consolidate their applications.

Meanwhile, Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Rotimi Oyedepo, brought two witnesses to court for commencement of trial but could not present them, owing to the preliminary objection to the court’s jurisdiction by the defence.

Justice Adebiyi subsequently adjourned the matter till March 9 for arguments on pending applications before the court.

Court Fixes February 29 For Trial Of Ex-NIMASA Boss, Others

nimasaThe trial of a former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi and 6 others did not go on at the Lagos High Court sitting in the Igbosere Area of Lagos Island on Wednesday.

The court failed to sit and nobody could ascertain why.

The court’s list however indicated that the trial has now been fixed for February 29.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned the men before Justice Raliat Adebiyi on January 25 on a 13 count charge of forgery & stealing about N754.7 million.

The EFCC specifically accused the defendants of converting to their personal use a sum of N346.8m released to them by NIMASA, a sum meant for the implementation of Voluntary International Maritime Organization 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 and Justice Adebiyi had granted the former NIMASA boss and 4 other accused persons bail in the sum of N‎20 million with two sureties in like sum.

The last two accused persons got bail in the sum of N2m with two sureties in like sum.

The other accused persons are Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Amechee Juan, Vincent Udoye, Adegboyega Olopoenia and a company, Gama Marine Nigeria Ltd.

Witness Continues Testimony In Former NIMASA Boss, Others Trial

NIMASAThe trial of the former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, and six others continued on Tuesday.

The accused are being tried on a 22 count charge bordering on allegations of conversion and theft to the tune of 2.6 billion Naira at the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

The 5th prosecution witness for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Emeka Emenalo, continued his testimony before the court.

He told Justice Ibrahim Buba under cross examination that he personally withdrew several sums of money from his company account within the period his account was credited by NIMASA with about 72 million Naira.

This was contrary to his earlier testimony that he did not personally benefit from the money which was paid into his account despite not rendering any service to the agency.

The witness, however, explained that there were other cash inflows into his account during the period.

Examining his account statement which was tendered before the court as exhibit, the witness said he transferred 700,000 Naira to his sister and 20 million Naira to his brother on March 6, 2016 among other transfers.

The 5th prosecution witness, who earlier introduced himself as the sole proprietor of O2 Services Plus Nigeria Limited, said his younger brother, Uche Emenalo, had linked up with the third accused person in the suit.

He added that it was both of them who used his company to obtain the funds from NIMASA for a contract which was never executed.

Apart from Akpobolokemi, the other accused persons were Captain Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan and three companies namely: Blockz and Stonz Limited, Kenzo Logistics Limited, and Al-Kenzo Logistic Limited.

They are facing trial before Justice Buba and had all pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

The EFCC said the alleged offences contravened the provisions of sections 15 (1), 15 (3), and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act.

More Witnesses Testify At Trial Of Former NIMASA Boss

nimasaThe trial of the former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration & Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr Patrick Akpobolokemi, continued on Friday with a fifth prosecution witness, Mr Emeka Emelano, giving his testimony.

Mr Emelano, who introduced himself as the sole proprietor of an agro allied company, O2 Services Plus Nigeria Limited, told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos that his company was used as a channel to obtain about 72 million naira from the NIMASA.

Mr Akpobolokemi and six others are standing trial on a 22-count charge bordering on allegations of conversion and fraud to the tune of 2.6 billion Naira.

In his testimony, Mr Emelano told the court that in 2015, his younger brother, one Uche Emelano, used the company to elicit a contract from NIMASA.

The contract was to be obtained through the third accused person, Ekene Nwakuche, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Al Kenzo Logistics Limited, one of the companies also charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The witness said he was not aware of the nature of the contract neither did his company execute any contract for NIMASA.

Acting on the instructions of the third accused person, the witness said his brother directed him to transfer certain sums of money paid to the company’s bank account to other bank accounts with beneficiaries named as Blocks & Stonez Limited and Governor Juan, the 6th accused person.

About 72 million Naira was allegedly disbursed from the account between March and June 2015.

The witness, however, testified that he did not benefit from the funds except for a hundred thousand Naira which he used to offset his transportation.

After hearing the witness’ testimony, Justice Ibrahim Buba adjourned the case until February 16 for continuation of cross examination of the witness.

Fourth Prosecution Witness Testifies At Trial Of Former NIMASA Boss

nimasaThe fourth prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency,  NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi and six others, testified at the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday.

The witness, Uche Obilor, who is the Managing Director of Ace Prothesis Limited, Seabulk Offshore Limited and Southern Offshore Limited, told the Court how his three companies were paid 905 million Naira by the NIMASA for a contract he did not execute.

Led in an evidence by the counsel of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Oyedepo, the witness also disclosed that he was approached by the NIMASA’s Executive Director for Maritime Safety and Shipping Development, Captain Ezekiel Agaba, who was the second defendant in the case.

He told the court that it was the Captain, who told him that his companies had been awarded the contract to assist NIMASA meet the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code for 2014.

The witness further testified that shortly after the money was paid, he was told by the Captain to stay execution on the contract.

He was subsequently directed to transfer the money into different accounts until 54 million Naira was left in the accounts.

The 54 million Naira, he said, had since being transferred to the coffers of the Federal Government.

Under cross examination, the witness admitted to the court that though, he held several meetings with the second defendant, he never met the first defendant, Akpobolokemi, neither did he receive any instructions or discussed with him.

The witness also admitted that despite being given the job description for the contract, his company lacked the capacity to carry out some of the functions.

The defence sought to prove that this was the reason for the stay of execution he received from NIMASA.

The cross examination of the witness would however, continue at the next adjourned date of February 5.

The former NIMASA DG was arraigned before Justice Ibrahim Buba along with the three other defendants, Captain Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan and three companies, namely Blockz and Stonz Limited, Kenzo Logistics Limited and Al-Kenzo Logistic Limited.

In a 22-count charge filed against them by the EFCC, they were accused of converting a total of 2, 658,957,666 Naira between December 23, 2013 and May 28 2015.

The defendants had all pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

Former NIMASA Boss’ Trial Continues

former NIMASA boss, Patrick AkpobolokemiThe trial of the former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, continued at the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

The second prosecution witness, a fashion designer, Chukwuemeka Onuoha told the court how his company, Extreme Vertevex Limited was used to siphon over 546,802,000 million Naira from the coffers of the NIMASA for a contract that was not awarded to him on Tuesday.

Led in evidence by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, Onuoha said the money was paid into his account with Zenith Bank even though he did not tender any proposal or carried out any contract for NIMASA.

The disbursement of the money was said to have been facilitated by the 3rd defendant (Ekene Nwakuche) who was his secondary school mate.

Onuoha told the Court that he was later instructed to transfer the money to different accounts by the 3rd defendant.

Under cross examination by Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN), counsel to the first defendant, Onuoha told the Court he had never met the first defendant, (Akpobolokemi) or received any instruction from him.

Also testifying as the 3rd prosecution witness, a Bureau De Change operator, Hussein Sabo, said that on March 2014, he was approached by one Muhammed Darlington, who told him that the 2nd defendants, (Captain Ezekiel Agaba) wanted to buy dollars.

Mr Sabo in his testimony, said “Darlington collected my account numbers and several millions of Naira were paid into the account which I used to buy dollars”, he said.

He also confirmed that on March 3, 2014, monies were paid into his account namely, 33, 800,000 Naira ; 35, 000,000 Naira ; 20, 000,000 Naira and 3, 000,000 Naira respectively.

Mr Sabo also disclosed that between the month of March 2014 and December 2014, he received through his account, 85, 305,000 Naira, 155, 300,000 Naira, 13, 000,000 Naira, 10, 000,000 Naira and 84, 000, 000 Naira respectively.

Justice Ibrahim Buba has adjourned further hearing in the matter till February 2,5, 16 and 19 respectively.

The former Director-General of NIMASA and six others are standing trial over an alleged theft of 2.6 billion Naira belonging to NIMASA.

Mr Akpobolokemi was arraigned before Justice 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 Logistic Limited.

In a 22-count charge by the EFCC, they were accused of converting a total of 2, 658,957,666 Naira between December 23, 2013 and May 28 2015.

Former NIMASA Boss’ Trial Begins

former NIMASA boss, Patrick AkpobolokemiThe trial of the former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime & Safety Agency, (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, started on Monday.

Mr Akpobolokemi was arraigned before Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos 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 Logistic Limited.

The former Director General of NIMASA was also accused of defrauding the Federal Government to the tune of 795.2 million Naira.

The court sitting how part of the 2.6 billion Naira allegedly stolen by Mr Akpobolokemi was disbursed.

In a 22-count charge by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), they were accused of converting a total of 2,658 billion Naira between December 23, 2013 and May 28, 2015.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

Disbursements

The EFCC opened trial with its first witness, Teslim Ajuwon, who was the Compliance Officer at Zenith Bank.

Mr Ajuwon said he was responsible for inquiries from regulatory agencies such as the EFCC, the police, NDLEA, among others.

He said he received inquiries 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.

Mr Ajuwon further said that the bank received a request to produce account opening package of the companies as well as their financial statements.

The witness said the fourth defendant, Governor Juan, was paid 11 million Naira on September 9, 2014, while Kenzo Logistics, also a defendant, got 10 million Naira the same day.

For the Committee on ISPS account, there was an inflow of 14.2 million Naira on June 17, 2014 from Access Bank; 21.2 million Naira on March 5, 2015; 16 million Naira on May 5, 2015; and 21.2 million Naira on June 18, 2015.

He said the monies were later disbursed, leaving only 1.4 million Naira as balance on June 18, 2015.

Mr Ajuwon said that 10 million Naira was transferred to Uchenna Emenalo on June 19 while another 11 million Naira was transferred to him the same day.

He said on August 29, 2014, there was a credit of 795.2 million Naira into the Committee on ISPS account from NIMASA.

The witness said it was followed by several payments amounting to 27 million Naira to Ekene Nwauche between September 16 and November 18, 2014.

According to him, 318 million Naira was paid to Extreme Bracket on November 6, 2014, while Avant Guard Security Services got 94 million Naira.

Several other companies also received payments. According to the witness, on January 8, 2015, Soko Global Services got 15.7 million Naira; Alfa Convoy got 6.9 million Naira; R-World Consulting got 70 million Naira, while O2 Services Plus Limited got 21.2 million Naira on March 5, 2015.

Mr Ajuwon further explained that on May 28, 2015, NIMASA made a lodgment of 447 million Naira, which was also disbursed to different companies.

They include 95 million Naira to Avant Guard on May 28, 2015; 46 million Naira to R-World Consulting; and seven million Naira to Green Lemon Consulting.

During cross-examination by Mr Akpbolokemi’s lawyer, the witness said he did not see the first accused’s name in the documents he tendered.

“I’ve looked through Exhibits 1-12, I did not see the name of the first defendant,” he said.

Justice Buba, however, adjourned the case till Tuesday, January 19, 2016 for continuation of the trial.

Judge Warns Lawyers Against Delaying Ex-NIMASA D.G, Others’ Trial

nimasaThe Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has warned lawyers representing the former Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Patrick Akpolobokemi, and five others not to delay the trial of the accused persons.

Justice Ibrahim Buba handed down the warning after their lawyers gave the court different reasons for seeking for an adjournment of the accused persons’ trial.

Counsel to the fhad been unable to perfect his bail conditions since Friday, and this had made it impossible for them to confer and discuss how to conduct his defence. He therefore asked the court for a very short adjournment.

Counsel representing the second accused person in the case, Mr. Madu Paschal, in seeking for the adjournment of his client’s trial, said he was preparing for a burial which had not made him prepare for the trial.

The counsel to the third, fifth & sixth accused persons, Mr Lanre Olayinka was absent in court. Through a letter he informed the court that he had travelled abroad for a medical appointment.

The Counsel representing the fourth accused person, Mr. Asemugara, on his part sought for an adjournment due to a preliminary application he had filed before the court to challenge its jurisdiction.

In responding to the submissions of the accused persons’ lawyers, counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, urged the court to discountenance the request for an adjournment and proceed with trial. He told the court that his witnesses were ready to testify.

In a ruling on the adjournment sought by the accused persons, Justice Buba drew the attention of the lawyers to the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act which mandates a day-to-day trial of criminal proceedings. He warned that he would not entertain any request aimed at frustrating the trial.

He said that he was forced to adjourn only to enable the third accused person find another lawyer to represent him.

The judge consequently adjourned the matter till December 14, for definite hearing.

The immediate past Director General of NIMASA, Patrick Akpolobokemi and five accused persons were arraigned last week Friday, by the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for offences bordering on conspiracy, fraudulent conversion of funds, abuse of office and money laundering.

They allegedly exploited the establishment of International Ship and Ports Security (ISPS) code to defraud the Nigerian government to the tune of over N2.5billion.

EFCC Arraigns Ex-NIMASA DG Akpobolokemi, Nine Others

NIMASAThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday December 3, arraigned a former Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi before Justice Salihu Sa’idu of the Federal High Court Lagos on a 30-count charge bordering on conspiracy, fraudulent conversion of funds and money laundering.

He was arraigned along with seven other staff of the agency including Captain Eziekiel Agaba, Executive Director, and their two companies.

Others are Ekene Nwakuche, Felix Bob-Nabena, Captain Warredi Enisuoh, Governor Amechee Juan, Ugo Frederick, Timi Alari, Alkenzo Limited and Penniel Engineering Services Limited.

The accused persons allegedly conspired to convert and launder several sums of money running into billions of naira under the guise of providing security intelligence around the maritime domain.

A committee on intelligence was established by the agency under the watch of Apobolokemi with the second accused person, Captain Agaba as Chairman. The committee allegedly received a total sum of N1, 153,000,000 (One Billion, One Hundred and Fifty Three Million Naira Only) between December 2013 to July 2015.

In disbursing the sum, the accused persons allegedly conspired and hired companies which investigation revealed were neither registered nor have requisite capacity to provide such services.

Investigation further disclosed that most of the companies contracted were either nominated by the accused persons or are directly owned by them.

One of the counts read, “That you Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, Captain Eziekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Felix Bob-Nabena, Captain Warredi Enisuoh, Governor Amechee Juan, Ugo Frederick,  Timi Alari, Alkenzo Limited and Penniel Engineering Services Limited on or about 20th of December 2013 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this court did conspire among yourselves to commit an offence to wit; conversion of the sum N1,153,000,000 (One Billion, One Hundred and Fifty Three Million Naira Only) property of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency which sum was derived from stealing and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18a of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment)  Act 2012 and punishable under section 15  (3) of the same Act”.

After listening to the charge, the accused persons pleaded not guilty. Prosecuting Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, prayed the court to remand the accused persons in prison and fix a date for trial.

Counsels representing the accused persons: Joseph Nwobike (SAN) for the first and fourth accused persons, Lanre Olayinka for the second and ninth accused persons, Pascal Made for the third accused person, C.A Nmarkwe for the fifth accused, Kayode Omoya for the eighth accused, Ige Asemundara for the sixth accused and E.O Ogbebor for the seventh and tenth accused persons filed bail applications praying the court to admit their clients to bail.

In opposing the bail application for the first accused person, Oyedepo filed a counter affidavit praying the court not to grant the defendant’s application. He argued that the first defendant had jumped the administrative bail granted to him by the Commission.

He added that someone who could not honour administrative bail should not be trusted to honour bail granted by the court.

Oyedepo also told the court to refuse the bail applications of all the other accused persons based on the severity of the proof of evidence before it.

Justice Salihu, however, admitted the first accused person to bail in the sum of N100,000, 000 and two sureties. One of the sureties must have a landed property in either Lekki, Ikoyi or Victoria Island. The other surety must be in either Federal of State government employment not below the rank of Director.

The other accused persons were granted bail in the sum of N50, 000,000 each with one surety in like sum. One of the sureties must be in either Federal of State government employment not below level 16 and the other must have a landed property within Lagos.

Justice Salihu adjourned the case till January 29, 2016 for the commencement of trial and ordered that the accused persons be remanded in Ikoyi prison pending perfection of their bail terms.