EFCC: How Akopobolokemi, Atewe Converted N4.9bn to Dollars

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Davidson Iriekpen

An operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Adamu Usman Yusuf, monday told a Federal High Court in Lagos that about N4.9 billion was converted into United States dollars by a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Patrick Akopobolokemi, and others charged for money laundering.

Akopobolokemi is standing trial alongside a former Commander of the Military Joint Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield in the Niger Delta. Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Atewe, Kime Engozu and Josephine Otuaga over N13 billion fraud.
Led in evidence by EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, the witness told the court that during investigation, it was discovered that the money was handed over to the 3rd and 4th defendants ( Engozu and Otuaga).

Yusuf told the trial judge, Justice Saliu Sheidu, that “at the end of our investigation, we discovered that about N4.9 billion were converted into US dollars and the money was handed to the 3rd and 4th accused persons.

“We also recovered evidence, where the defendants acknowledged the receipt of the money and same was forwarded to forensic unit for expert opinion.”

Yusuf told the court that the defendants used a different companies and accounts to launder billions money from Joint Task Force operation account.

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.
He said during investigation, letters of request were sent GTbank, Heritage Bank, Diamond Bank, Stanbic IBTC bank, as well as First City Monument Bank (FCMB) demanding for account statements and operating documents of beneficiaries of the accounts.

Earlier, the EFCC in an amended 22-count charge, alleged that the defendants sometimes in 2014 in Lagos, converted the sum of N8,537,586,798.58 property of NIMASA contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendent) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

They were also alleged to have between September 5, 2014 and May 20, 2015 converted to personal use the sum of N2,006,270,930.67 through Jagan Limited, property of NIMASA.

Some of the counts read: that you Akopolokemi, Major General Josphine Otuaga betweeen September 5, 2014 and May 22, 2015 in Lagos converted the sum of N1, 147, 723, 362.42 through Jagan Trading Company Limited property of NIMASA contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amemdeent) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

“That you Patrick Ziadeke Akopolokemi, Major General Josphine Otuaga, Kime Engozu and Josphine Otuaga within the jurisdiction of the court converted the sum of N1,871,795,679.14 through Eastpoint Integrated Services Limited, property of NIMASA”

The accused were also alleged to have between September 5, 2014 and May 20, 2015 converted to private use the sum of N 2,006,270,930.63 through Jagan limited, property of NIMASA contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amemdent) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.
In the charge, the anti-graft agency also alleged that the accused conspired to defraud NIMASA of 605,645,750.00 million through Paper Warehouse Limited.

When the charge was read to them, all the accused pleaded not guilty.
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.
The matter has been adjourned till February 3, 2017 for continuation of trial.