EFCC Arraigns Former Air Force Boss, Amosu, 10 Others

EFCC
Former Chief of Air staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (Rtd)

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned a former Chief of Air staff, Air Marshal Adesola  Amosu (Rtd) and 10 others before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

The former Chief of Air Staff was arraigned alongside Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun, Air Commodore Gbadebo Olugbenga and 7 companies.

The Companies are Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd, Mcallan Oil And Gas Ltd, Hebron Housing and Properties Company Ltd, Trapezites BDC, Fonds and Pricey Ltd, Deegee Oil and Gas Ltd, Timsegg Investment Ltd and Solomon Health Care Ltd.

The EFCC formally accused them of converting about N22.8bn from the Nigeria Air Force around March 5, 2014 in Lagos.

They were also accused of concealing “proceeds of crime” and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 17(a).

The defendants allegedly used the companies to convert and conceal the money.

When the 26 count charge was read to them, they all pleaded not guilty and their lawyers made a case for them to be admitted to bail either on self-recognizance or in the most liberal terms.

The EFCC Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, had no objections to the court granting them bail but he urged the court to impose conditions that will secure their attendance in court for their trial.

After listening to their submissions, Justice Mohammed Idris, granted the defendants bail in the sum of N500m each with two sureties in like sum.

The sureties shall be landed property owners within the jurisdiction of the court.

The documents of the properties must be deposited in court and verifiable by the registrar. The court also asked the defendants to deposit their international passport with the registrar of the court.

Before the bail conditions are met however, the first and third defendants are to be remanded in prison while the second defendant, who had written a letter to the EFCC on his poor state of health, will be remanded in the Commission’s custody.

Further proceedings were then fixed for July 8.

Court Fixes June 20 To Rule On Bail Application Of Jonathan’s Aide

Synagogue, CourtA Federal High Court sitting in Lagos will decide on Monday June 20 whether or not to grant bail to a former Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs to former president, Goodluck Jonathan, Dudafa Waripamo-Owei.

Dudafa and one Iwejuo Joseph Nna are facing a 23 count charge bordering on fraud totaling about N5billion.

Yesterday, they were arraigned before Justice Mohammed Idris, who subsequently fixed Thursday, June 16 for the hearing of their bail applications.

When the case was called, counsel to the former President’s aide, Mr Gbenga Oyewole, cited certain provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act and the 1999 Constitution as amended to make a case for his client to be admitted to bail.

He insisted that his client is a person of integrity who has held public office since 2003 and as such would not jump bail.

He also told the court that the former presidential aide suffered from a spinal cord injury and was actually on his way abroad for treatment when he was arrested.

He urged the court to exercise its discretion in favour of the defendant and grant him bail in the most liberal terms.

Counsel to the second accused, Mr Sunday Abumere aligned himself with Mr Oyewole’s submission.

The EFCC prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, however vehemently opposed the application.

He told the court that the former presidential aide is a flight risk as the defense of ill-health was an after thought, with no document from an expert to back it up.

The counsel also told the court that the defendant had procured a fake surety, who submitted forged documents when he was earlier granted administrative bail by the EFCC.

The possibility of the first defendant tampering with other suspects said to be at large was another basis for which the prosecution urged the court to refuse bail.

Justice Idris was told that the EFCC had intelligence report indicating that it would not be in the interest of justice to grant the former presidential aide bail.

For the second accused person, the prosecution told the court that he was also a flight risk, having being suspended from his job as a Branch Manager at Heritage Bank.

After listening to all the submissions, Justice Idris fixed June 20 for ruling and ordered the defendants to be remanded in prison custody pending the ruling on their bail applications.

Court Remands Fmr President Jonathan’s Aide, Dudafa, Others in Prison Custody

Synagogue, CourtThe Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the remand in prison of a former Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs to former President, Goodluck Jonathan, Dudafa Waripamo-Owei, pending the hearing and determination of his bail application.

Presiding Justice Mohammed Idris gave the order after Dudafa and one Iwejuo Joseph Nna, who is also known at different times as Taiwo Ebenezer and Olugbenga Isaiah, were arraigned before him over an alleged N1.6 billion fraud.

The two men, who were arraigned on a 23 count-charge by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Based on their plea, the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo urged the court to remand them in prison, and adjourn for trial.

But lawyer to the accused persons, Gboyega Oyewole informed the court that his clients had filed bail applications, which has been served on the prosecution.

He urged the court to admit his clients to bail on liberal term.

The EFCC Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo admitted to the court that he had received the bail applications, he however asked for more time to respond to the applications.

Based on this development, Justice Idris, ordered that the two accused persons be remanded in Prison Custody till Thursday, June15 when the court will decide on their bail applications.

The EFCC had alleged that Dudafa and Nna had between June 11, 2013, and June 2015, used different companies to fraudulently steal the said sum.

Some of the companies allegedly used in committing the offences includes; Seagate Property Development & Investment Limited, Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited; Iwejuo Joseph Nna and Pluto LUTO Property and Investment Company Limited; Iwejuo Joseph Nna and Rotate Interlink Services Limited.

Others are; Ibejige Services Limited; DE Jakes Fast Food & Restaurant Nigeria Limited; and Ebiwise Resources.

The alleged offences are contrary to and punishable under Sections 17(a), 18(c), and 27 (3) (c) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004.

The EFCC has lined up 21 witnesses to testify against the defendants.

Illegal Property Dealing: Prosecution Witnesses In Adegboruwa’s Case Take Stand

Ebun-Olu-Adegboruwa
Legal Practitioner, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa.

The trial of Lagos Lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa continued on Wednesday at the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos with prosecution witnesses taking the stand.

The first prosecution witness, Godwin Adams, who continued his testimony under cross examination from counsel to the defendant, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), insisted that there was no way he or his client could have known that there was any forfeiture order on the property as the wife of the owner of the property, Mrs Udeagbala and her family were living in the property at the time of negotiation.

He also confirmed there was no sign or notice fixed on any part of the property by the EFCC to inform the public of this encumbrance.

The witness also told the court that Mr Adegboruwa went with him to the EFCC office, where they were both told about the interim order of attachment after the commission had sealed the property.

Rents on the property in question is now being paid to the EFCC which has in turn increased the rent from N10 million to N12 million per annum.

After his testimony, a second prosecution witness, Mr. Teslim Adekunle Ajuwon, a Compliance Officer with Zenith Bank Plc, also took the witness box.

Through him, counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, tendered documents and statement of account of Mr Adegboruwa.

The case has been adjourned to Wednesday the 15th of June for the witness to continue his testimony.

Legal Practitioner, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, is standing trial on a one count charge of allegedly dealing in property forfeited to the Federal Government through an interim order of court, a charge to which he has pleaded not guilty.

The offence is said to have contravened the provisions of Section 32(1) of the EFCC Act, 2004.

Mr Adegboruwa, however, insists that he is being persecuted by the EFCC on account of his human rights cases against the Buhari administration and in particular, his representation of Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo and Mr Azibaola Robert, a cousin to the former president, Goodluck Jonathan.

EFCC Charges Jonathan’s Aide, Waripamo-Owei

EFCC, Dudafa Waripamo-Owei, Goodluck JonathanThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed a 23-count charge against the Senior Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Dudafa Waripamo-Owei.

Channels Television’s judiciary correspondent, Shola Soyele, who obtained a copy of the charge, said that Mr Waripamo-Owei was charged alongside one Iwejuo Joseph Nna, also known at various times as Taiwo Ebenezer and Olugbenga Isaiah.

In the first count, the defendants on or about June 11, 2013 in Lagos allegedly conspired amongst themselves to conceal the sum of 1.667 billion Naira said to be the proceeds of crime.

The Offence was said to be contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 17(a) of the same Act.

In the other charges, Mr Waripamo-Owei also allegedly used six companies – Seagate Property Development and Investment Limited, Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited, Ebiwise Resources, Pluto Property and Investment Company, Rotato Interlink Services and De Jakes Fast Food and Restaurant Nigeria Limited  – to conceal varying sums of money between June 2013 and April 2016.

The EFCC’s Prosecuting Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, had listed 21 witnesses to testify against the defendants, including Representatives of some banks.

The accused have been scheduled for arraignment on Wednesday before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.

Court Adjourns Bribery Case Against Nwobike To April 21

NwobikeThe Lagos State High Court sitting in the Igbosere area of Lagos Island has fixed April 21 for the commencement of trial in the case of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Joseph Nwobike.

Justice Raliat Adebiyi fixed the date following a request by the counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, seeking more time to produce their witnesses in proof of the charges against the senior advocate.

On March 9, the EFCC had arraigned Mr Nwobike on allegations that he gave the sum of N750,000 to Justice Mohammed Yunusa of the Federal High Court to influence the judge to pervert the course of justice.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail on self-recognizance by the court.

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Monday April 11, Counsel to Mr Nwobike, Wale Akoni (SAN) informed the court that the charges against his client were unconstitutional and he intended to make a “no case submission”.

Mr Akoni also denied the claim by the prosecution counsel that the defence had filed “a harvest of motions”. The defendant’s lawyer insisted that his client looked forward to a speedy trial so he could clear his name.

The judge adjourned the case till April 21 and 22 for the prosecution to open its case.

630m Naira Fraud: Rickey Tarfa’s Client Know Fate April 27

Rickey TarfaRuling on the application filed by Mr Rickey Tarfa, seeking to quash the charge preferred against two of his clients, Gnanhoue Sourou Nazaire and Senou Modeste Finagnon, has been adjourned till April 27.  

Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Lagos State High Court adjourned the case on Tuesday.

Both men, who are citizens of Republic of Benin, are standing trial for allegedly defrauding one Rachidatou Abdou and her company 630 million Naira.

Upon their arraignment on February 17, they pleaded not guilty to the charge.

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Tuesday, Mr Tarfa filed an application backed by a 50 paragraph affidavit urging the court to quash the charge against his clients on the grounds that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter.

He also alleged that the charge was incompetent and that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission was prosecuting his clients without any petition from anybody.

However, EFCC’s counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, in an 11 paragraphs counter affidavit, asked the court to assume jurisdiction and hear the matter.

Mr Rotimi stated that most of the averments contained in the first and second defendant’s application were false.

He said: “The Commission does not need a petition to prosecute a matter even though it received a petition from one Rachidatou Abdou through the Law Firm of Falana and Falana against the defendants”.

On the competency of the charge, the prosecuting counsel submitted that upon receipt of the petition, the Commission assigned a team of investigators to investigate the case and that investigation revealed that the defendants conspired to commit felony, forgery and stealing.

Mr Rotimi also told the court to dismiss the submission of the defendant, as the Commission was a Federal Government agency statutorily empowered to prosecute cases of this nature.

He added that the office of the Attorney General of Lagos State had through a fiat conceded its prosecutorial powers to the Commission to prosecute economic and financial crime related offences in the state.

The defendants are facing a seven-count charge of alleged forgery, stealing and conversion of funds.

One of the counts read: “You, Gnanhoue Sourou Nazaire and Senou Modeste Finagnon between 5 January and 31 December 2012 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, with a dishonest intent, converted to your own use the sum of 141,460,915 Naira property of Rana Prestige Manufacturers Industries Nigeria Limited and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 285(1) of the Criminal Code Law of Lagos State”.

Justice Taiwo adjourned the case to April 27 for ruling.

Court Convicts 14 Foreigners For Illegal Dealing In Petroleum Products

CourtThe Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has convicted 14 foreigners for dealing in petroleum products in Nigeria without lawful authority.

Justice Ibrahim Buba on Friday, found them guilty of dealing in 1,738.087 metric tons of petroleum product  without lawful authority or licence as alleged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In the judgment, Justice Buba held that he was satisfied that the prosecution led by Rotimi Oyedepo had proved its case against the defendants beyond reasonable doubts.

The judge then sentenced 11 out of the 14 convicted foreigners to two years imprisonment each with an option to a pay a fine of 5 million Naira each on the five counts levelled against them.

The Court also said that the sentence would run from last year March when they were apprehended by the Nigerian Navy and handed over to the EFCC.

Three of the foreigners, who had jumped bail and absconded, were sentenced to five years imprisonment without an option of fine.

The three convicts who jumped bail are Russians.

The judge convicted and sentenced them in absentia and issued a warrant for their arrest, emphasising that their jail term would commence on whatever day they would be re-arrested.

The judge also ordered the forfeiture of the petroleum products and their vessel to the Federal Government.

He ordered the two companies convicted alongside the foreigners to pay a 5 million Naira fine on each of the five counts levelled against them.

The EFCC had on June 10, 2015 arraigned the 14 convicts on four counts before Justice Buba.

The charge was later amended and the counts increased to five.

The convicts were arraigned alongside their vessel – MT Anuket Emerald, and two companies – Monjasa DMCC and Glencore Energy UK Limited.

Their names, as listed on the charge sheet, are: Artur Pakhladzhian, Sergo Abbgarian, Vasily Shkundich, Vitaliy Bilours, Hlarion Regipor, Laguta Oleksiy and Cadavis Gerarado.

Others are: Kretov Andry, Badurian Benjamin, Chepikov Olksan, Naranjo Antero, Patro Christian, Alcayde Joel and Caratiquit Beyan.

They were identified as citizens of Russia, Ukraine, Philippines and Japan.

The prosecutor, Mr Oyedepo, had told the court that the men were handed over to the EFCC by the Nigerian Navy which on March 27, 2015 intercepted them with their vessel, MT Anuket Emerald, loaded with crude oil estimated at 1,738.087 metric tons.

The foreigners were equally said to have been found in unlawful possession of 1,500 metric tons of Automated Gas Oil as well as 3,035 metric tons of Low Pour Fuel Oil.

They had pleaded not guilty and were granted bail in the sum of 50 million Naira each, which was guaranteed by Zenith Bank Plc.

Upon the disappearance of the three Russians, the court had subsequently ordered Zenith Bank to forfeit 150 million Naira to the Federal Government.

To prove the allegations against the convicts, Mr Oyedepo called seven witnesses, while the defence counsel, Mr Babajide Koku (SAN), called three witnesses.

In his judgment, Justice Buba said he was satisfied that the prosecution proved its case against the defendants beyond reasonable doubts, adding that he had no difficulty in convicting them on all the five counts preferred against them.

Upon their conviction, the defence counsel, Koku, urged the court to temper justice with mercy, saying the convicts were young men in their prime, who had no previous records of conviction.

Koku said the 11 convicts, who were in court, were only employees carrying out the instruction of their employer and were not privy to the deal.

“We plead for mercy, My Lord,  Abraham Lincoln said, ‘I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.’ The convicts are young men in the prime of their lives. They have no family ties in Nigeria. In fact, the convicts here are not the ones in control of the ship. They can at best be described as the laymen of the crew,” Koku said.

Quoting James 2:3 from the Bible and making reference to the Quran, Koku urged the judge to allow mercy to triumph over judgment.

On his own part, Oyedepo said that the EFCC had found no previous conviction record on the convicts.

He urged the judge to “invoke the spirit behind Section 1(17) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act,” in sentencing them.

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.

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.