Alleged N2.6bn Fraud: Appeal Court Frees Ex-NIMASA DG, Akpobolokemi

Court Fixes Date For Ruling On Akpobolemi's N2.6bn Fraud Case

 

The Court of Appeal, sitting in Lagos has upheld the ‘no case submission’ filed by a former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Patrick Akpobolokemi, over an alleged fraud of N2.6bn.

The three-man appeal court panel also discharged and freed Mr Akpobolokemi on all the 22counts and overruled the decision of Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court Lagos.

Justice Yargatta Nimpar, who read the lead judgment however held that other defendants who appealed the verdict alongside Akpobolokemi had a case to answer in relation to the charges.

In a swift reaction, however, the EFCC Prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo told Channels Tv’s judiciary Correspondent, that it will appeal the decision immediately at the Supreme Court.

In December 2015, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Akpobolokemi alongside five others for allegedly diverting N2.6bn from the coffers of NIMASA between December 2013 and May 2015.

The Commission claimed, that the funds were approved by former President Goodluck Jonathan for the implementation of a security project tagged, “International Ship and Ports Security Code in Nigerian Ports” and diverted by the defendants.

Those charged alongside Akpolokemi were Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Blockz and Stonz Limited and Al-Kenzo Logistics Limited.

They all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In proof of its case, the EFCC called 12 witnesses and tendered 77 exhibits.

Rather than open their defence, the defendants all alleged that no case had been made against them and each of them filed a no case submission.

In a ruling delivered on October 16, 2017, Justice Ibrahim Buba dismissed their no-case submissions and ordered them to put in their defence because a prima facie case had been made against them.

Apparently displeased by this verdict, the defendants all approached the Court of Appeal for redress.

EFCC Separates Tompolo From Charges

EFCC Separates Tompolo From ChargesThe EFCC has separated former Niger Delta Militant, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo from a 40-count charge of alleged fraud and money laundering.

The anti-graft agency was forced to separate Tompolo from the charges it filed at the Federal High Court in Lagos after it declared that the former Niger Delta Militant was still on the run.

Tompolo was listed as the first accused person in the said charge which the EFCC filed in January before Justice Ibrahim Buba.

The former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Patrick Akpobolokemi and four other persons were also listed in the charge as co-accused persons.

The five were charged alongside four companies – Global West Vessel Specialist Limited, Odimiri Electrical Limited, Boloboere Property and Estate Limited and Destre Consult Limited.

However, efforts to arraign them had failed since January owing to the refusal of Tompolo to honour the court summons issued on him to appear in court.

At Tuesday’s proceedings, Tompolo was again absent in court as his lawyers, Mr Tayo Oyetibo and Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa were also absent.

The EFCC prosecutor, Mr Festus Keyamo, told the presiding judge that the charge against the accused persons had been amended with Tompolo’s name removed.

He said Tompolo would be arraigned and tried separately from the others as soon as he was apprehended by the security agencies.

With the permission of the court, the other accused persons took their plea on the 40 counts levelled against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The charges bordered on conspiracy, fraudulent conversion and laundering of various sums of money belonging to NIMASA.

They all pleaded not guilty.

Justice Buba later admitted them to bail before adjourning the commencement of their trial till May 23.

Meanwhile, the judge also adjourned till April 18, for the EFCC to arraign Mr Akpobolokemi and others on another 22-count charge.

Tompolo had also been listed as the first accused person in the charge, but his name was removed following his failure to show up to answer to the charges.

The EFCC said he would also be arranged separately on the 22 counts whenever he is produced before the court.

Earlier, Justice Buba had on January 14, issued a warrant for his arrest and the said warrant was renewed on February 8.

The EFCC had also declared Tompolo wanted through a newspaper advertorial and it had also obtained a court order to seize Tompolo’s assets pending when he would submit himself for 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.

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.

Three Witnesses Testify Against Akpobolokemi, Others

AkpobolokemiThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has presented three new prosecution witnesses against a former Director- General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi.

Akpobolokemi is standing trial alongside five others, before Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos in a 2.3billion Naira money laundering charge preferred against them by the EFCC.

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Thursday, two of the witnesses, Yahaya Yusuf and Wakili Dauda, who are both Bureau De Change operators, told the court how they received and changed into dollars, various sums of money on behalf of the second accused person, Captain Ezekiel Agaba.

The monies: 230.9 million Naira, 145.3 million Naira and another 85.5 million Naira were paid between November 7 and 14, 2014 from a company ‘Extreme Vertex Nigeria Limited’ into an account: Kofar Fada Nigeria Limited, belonging to the Bureau De Change operators.

Extreme Vertex Nigeria Limited was one of the companies alleged to have benefited from the disbursement of over two billion Naira from the Committee on International Shipping and Port Security (ISPS) in NIMASA.

The witnesses confirmed that after the money was credited into the account, the dollar equivalent of the entire sum was taken to the second accused person’s office in NIMASA and handed to him.

A 9th prosecution witness, Olamide Ogunsanya, an Assistant Director with NIMASA, also told the court that her department is in charge of revenue collection, processing and payment of contracts and that all payments in the agency were approved by Mr Akpobolokemi.

Affirming that no payment could be made in NIMASA without the approval of the former Director- General, she identified the second accused person, Captain Ezekiel Agaba, as the Chairman of the Committee on International Shipping and Port Security (ISPS), disclosing to the court that he was reporting directly to Akpobolokemi.

She confirmed that the approval for constituting the Committee was obtained from the Presidency through the office of the National Security Adviser, stressing that it was Akpobolokemi that obtained the approval.

The witness explained that the instruction for payments through the Committee, normally emanates from Akpobolokemi to Agaba, who will then issue a memo to the Director of Financial Services to make payments to any beneficiary stated in the memo.

She told the court that on four occasions between June 2013 and August 2014, the ISPS account received monies in the sum of 2 billion Naira; 1.1 billion Naira; 795 million Naira and 447 million Naira respectively.

Ogunsanya identified the account opening packages of the Committee domiciled at Access Bank and Zenith Bank. The documents were then admitted into evidence as exhibits.

According to the witness, all approvals for the release of the above sums were obtained from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation by Akpobolokemi.

She was subsequently shown the approval for the release of the sum of 1.1 billion Naira which she identified and same was also admitted as exhibit.

Justice Buba has adjourned the matter to March 1, for continuation of trial.

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.

NIMASA Fraud: Court Grants Order To Seize Tompolo’s Property

TompoloThe Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has granted an order for the seizure of some properties belonging to former Niger Delta militant, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo. 

Justice Ibrahim Buba granted the order after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) told the court that the whereabouts of Tompolo is unknown.

According to the EFCC, a combined team of Nigerian Police and military officers had been combing the creeks for weeks without success.

Justice Ibrahim Buba had issued a warrant for the arrest of Tompolo on February 8, 2016 after he shunned repeated invitations to appear before the EFCC for questioning.

Last week, the Commission declared the ex-militant wanted.

Tompolo, Patrick Akpobolokemi, the former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), and eight others are accused of a multibillion Naira fraud at the agency.

At the court sitting on Friday, no lawyer announced appearance for Mr Ekpemupolo, a situation the prosecution noted was disrespectful to the court.

With Tompolo still at large, Mr Keyamo then moved a motion for an adjournment to enable the prosecution separate the charges to enable the trial of the other accused persons go on.

The prosecution counsel also filed an application urging the court to order the seizure of all identified properties belonging to Ekpemupolo.

The assets listed include property at No. 1 Chief Agbamu Close DDPA Extension Warri (Effurun), Delta State, All property of Muhaabix Global Services Ltd; a River Crew Change Boat named MUHA – 15; the property known as “Tompolo Dockyard”, by the end of Enerhen Road, Effurun, Warri.

Others are; a property known as “Tompolo Yard”, at the end of Chevron Clinic Road, next to Next Oil, Edjeba, Warri; the Diving School at Kurutie, at Escravos River; the property known as “Tompolo House” at Oporaza Town, opposite the Palace; and any other property discovered by the EFCC, movable and immovable, belonging to the first accused person.

“This application is to further secure the attendance of the first accused person. The law says that the court can order the confiscation of his properties until he appears,” Mr Keyamo said.

“Any third party can bring an application later, but we have intelligence reports that those properties and companies belong to the first accused person.

“If he fails to appear within three months, the federal government will auction off all the assets,” he added.

‎In his ruling, the judge granted the order for the seizure of all the listed properties and adjourned till March 22, 2016 for the separation of charges on the defendants.

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.

Court Renews Order For Tompolo’s Arrest

TompoloA Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has renewed its order to all security agencies in Nigeria to compel the attendance in court of former Niger Delta militant, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo.

Justice Ibrahim Buba reiterated the order, while ruling on an application challenging the substituted service of a 40-count criminal charge on the accused.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had filed the 40-count charge against Tompolo, Patrick Akpobolokemi and eight others.

The charge borders on allegations of conversion and theft to the tune of over N13 billion.

Counsel for Tompolo, Mr Tayo Oyetibo, had filed an application on January 27 to challenge the service of the charges on his client based on a defect in the address of service.

The lawyer argued that the charge was effected on ‘Agbanu St’, rather than ‘Agbamu St.’ in Warri, Delta State. He urged the court to hold that service of the charge was not properly effected on the first accused.

Counsel to the EFCC, Mr Festus Keyamo, however opposed this application.

Justice Ibrahim Buba in his ruling dismissed the application and renewed his order compelling the attendance of Tompolo in court.

The court held that “the EFCC has the power to arrest anyone if it has reasonable belief that such person has committed an offence”.

The court specifically noted that one of the submissions of the EFCC before a warrant of arrest was issued, was that despite several invitations, Tompolo failed to show up to answer to the allegations made against him.

“The order for substituted service is more than justified against a man who has refused to honour lawful invitation by the EFCC.

“Not only is Tompolo aware of the charges, he has further briefed counsel representing him, who on his behalf, demanded for all processes filed in the matter.

“Therefore, all the authorities cited on this issue are with respect, misconceived.

“The application challenging service is hereby dismissed.

“The order for arrest still subsist; and all authorities in Nigeria are further ordered to ensure that the order of this court for the arrest of Ekpemupolo also known as Tompolo is carried out to the latter,” the court held.

Tompolo’s lawyer said that he would await further briefing from his client.

Meanwhile, counsel to the former Director General of NIMASA said that the EFCC was treating his clients and the other accused persons unfairly.

The court has adjourned till February 19 when all the accused persons are expected to be arraigned.

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.