N8.5bn Fraud: Witness Reveals More Monetary Transactions from JTF

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A prosecution witness, Teslim Ajuwon, yesterday told a Federal High Court in Lagos, that a former Commander of the military Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Puelo Shield in the Niger Delta, Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Atewe, was a signatory to the account of the JTF.

The witness continued his evidence at the resumed trial of Atewe.

Atewe is standing trial alongside a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, Kime Engozu and Josephine Otuaga over N8.5 billion fraud.

They are been prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on an 11-count bordering on the offence.

Yesterday, the witness, PW1, who began his evidence on October 18, continued his evidence in chief as led by the prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo.

He told the court that the instrument for the debit of the account of the JTF, Puelo Shield, was signed by signatories to the account.

Ajuwon told the court that the transaction instrument was signed by the two signatories to the account, namely Lt. I.M Ogadoga and Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Atewe.

He also told the court that sometimes in 2015, a request was received from the EFCC to provide account opening document, statement of account and certificate of identification in respect of one Lord Fem Engineering Services Ltd, and First Investment and Property Ltd.

He said the request was processed and the response forwarded to the EFCC.

In his evidence on transactions carried out on September 5 and 9, 2014, the witness told the court that there were two in-flow of cash from the account of the JTF to Jaggan Ltd in the sum of N50 million each.

He said on September 16, 2014, there was also an in-flow of cash in the sum of N50.5 million from the JTF account to Jaggan Ltd.

The witness also said that on August 25, 2014, there was a NIP transaction from First Bank into Lord Fem Engineering Ltd in the sum of N7 million.

After the witness’s testimony, the prosecutor informed the court that he was done with his examination for the first witness.

Following the agreement reached by counsel, the court thereafter, fixed November 22 and December 5 for continuation of trial.

In the charge, the anti-graft agency alleged that the accused conspired to defraud NIMASA of N8.5 billion using seven companies.

The companies are: Jagan Ltd; Jagan Trading Company Ltd; Jagan Global Services Ltd; Al-Nald Ltd; Paper Warehouse Ltd;  Eastpoint Integrated Services Ltd and De-New link Integrated Services Ltd.

The EFCC claimed that the accused committed the alleged fraud between September 5, 2014 and May 20, 2015.

The accused had all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The offence is said to have contravened the provisions of Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.

The offence is also said to have contravened the provisions of Section 390 of the Criminal Code Act Cap  C. 38, Laws of the Federation, 2004.