Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Confession time: Bank worker open up how NIMASA boss share stole N2.6b

A Federal High Court in Lagos State, on Monday, heard how part of the N2.6 billion allegedly stolen by a former Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) boss, Patrick Akpobolokemi, was distributed.

It would be recalled that Akpobolokemi was also accused of defrauding the Federal Government to the tune of N795.2 million.

Akpobolokemi was arraigned before Justice Ibrahim 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 Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), they were accused of converting a total of N2,658,957,666 between December 23, 2013 and May 28, 2015.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

EFCC, which opened trial on Monday, called its first witness, Teslim Ajuwon, who is the Compliance Officer at Zenith Bank.

He said he was responsible for enquiries from regulatory agencies such as the EFCC, the police, NDLEA, among others.

He said he received enquiries 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.

He said 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 N11 million on September 9, 2014, while Kenzo Logistics, also a defendant, got N10 million the same day.

For the Committee on ISPS account, there was an inflow of N14.2 million on June 17, 2014 from Access Bank; N21.2 million on March 5, 2015; N16 million on May 5, 2015; and N21.2 million on June 18, 2015.

He said the money was later disbursed, leaving only N1.4 million as balance on June 18, 2015.
Ajuwon said N10 million was transfered to Uchenna Emenalo on June 19; while another N11 million was transfered to him the same day.

He said on August 29, 2014, there was a a credit of N795.2 million into the ISPS account from NIMASA.

The witness said it was followed by several payments amounting to N27 million to Ekene Nwauche between September 16 and November 18, 2014.

According to him, N318 million was paid to Extreme Bracket on November 6, 2014, while Avant Guard Security Services got N94million. Several other companies also received payments.

According to the witness, on January 8, Soko Global Services got N15.7 million; Alfa Convoy got N6.9 million; R-World Consulding got N70 million, while O2 Services Plus Limited got N21.2 million last March 5.

Ajuwon said last May 28, NIMASA made a lodgment of N447 million, which was also disbursed to different companies.

They include N95 million to Avant Guard on May 28, N46 million to R-World Consulting and N7 million to Green Lemon Consulting.

During cross-examination by 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 adjourned till Tuesday for continuation of trial.

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