By Akinwale Akintunde
A prosecution witness, Orji Chukwuma, yesterday told an Ikeja High Court how former Director-General of Nigeria Maritime Administration Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi and others requested for N496 million from a former National Security Adviser and converted the money to his personal use.
Chukwuma, who narrated this at the resumed hearing of the matter before Justice Raliat Adebiyi, also alleged that he (Chukwuma) transferred N504 million to Arrow World Consultancy Services Limited.
Akpobolokemi alongside Captain Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Amechee Juan, Vincent Udoye, Captain Adegboyega Sahib Olopoenia, and a company, Gama Marine Nigeria Limited, are standing trial on a 13-count charge bordering on stealing the money belonging to NIMASA preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The anti-graft commission had charged the former NIMASA boss and others for allegedly stealing over N754, 740,680.00 million belonging to NIMASA.
The defendants had pleaded not guilty to all the count preferred against them.
Led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, the witness (Chukwuma) told the court that the sum of N816,200 million was fraudulently transferred between 2014 and 2015.
Chukwuma, who is an investigating officer with the EFCC told the court that in the cause of investigation, it was discovered that defendants converted money meant for the purchase of things for NIMASA to personal use.
He said the Commission received an intelligence report of a monumental fraud going on in NIMASA under the leadership of Akpobolokemi who was the Director General of the agency as at that time.
The witness said the fraud was perpetrated by 1st defendant through the presentation of documents to the Office of National Security Adviser and later presented to former President Goodluck Jonathan, which was approved.
He said an account was created in the name of VIMSAS which was operated by the 2nd defendants and some others.
When he was shown exhibit P9, he said it represent the fraudulent representation by the 1st defendant to NSA on May 15, 2015 and a reply from NSA dated October 15, 2015 and a payment voucher.
“Exhibit P10 represent a letter from NIMASA dated June 20, 2014 and a correspondence from ONSA on July 30, 2014 a payment voucher. The NSA approved the sum of N498million but the investigation revealed contrary.
“A request of N318million was made and attached the list of things to purchase but investigation revealed that the money was converted as against the list. There was instruction to move N498, 200m from NIMASA account to VIMSAS account no 1013961926 domiciled in Zenith Bank”.
The 1st defendant gave the order for the transferred”, the witness said.
The court therefore admitted in exhibit, a statement made by the 1st and 2nd defendants. While Edoka Onyeke objected to the additional statement attached.
Justice Adebiyi subsequently adjourned till November 30, 2016 for trial within trial.