How ex-NIMASA DG diverted N1.1bn approved by Jonathan

An operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Orji Chukwuma, on Monday, April 18, revealed how money released by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014 for a project in the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency was allegedly diverted.

The EFCC operative made the disclosure at the trial of former Director-General of NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi and five others who allegedly defrauded NIMASA to the tune of N2.6bn between March and June 2014.

The sum said to have been diverted is believed to be N1.1 billion.

Chukwuma told the court that even though the money was requested by Akpobolokemi in 2013 for the International Ship and Port Security facility in NIMASA project, about 89% of the fund was diverted.

Chukwuma further told the court that Jonathan approved the disbursement of N1,123,400,000 on November 4, 2013 to be released to NIMASA through the embattled former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, on January 3, 2014 but the money was diverted through 6 companies at 15 different times.

Akpobolokemi was arraigned along with Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Blockz and Stonz Limited and Al-Kenzo Logistics Limited before Justice Ibrahim Buba on December 4, 2015 where they pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Chukwuma, who is the 12th witness called by the EFCC in the course of the trial was led in evidence by an EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo.

He told the court that Akpobolokemi set up the ISPS Committee and made the Agaba, the second defendant who is a former employee of Mobil, the chairman.

The witness said Agaba was one of the signatories to the ISPS Committee’s bank account from which the N1.1bn approved by Jonathan was diverted through six companies.

Chukwuma, with a powerpoint slide and a projector, told the court that Seabulk Offshore Operator Ltd (N437, 726,666); Ace Prosthesis Ltd (N66,800,000); Extreme Vertex Nig. Ltd. (N21,802,000); O2 Services Plus Ltd. (N14,200,000); Southern Offshore Ltd (N402,480,000) and Caniz Limited (N12, 250,000) were all compicit in diverting the said funds.

Chukwuma also revealed that the 3rd defendant, Nwakuche, who was a personal assistant to Agaba, owns two of the companies that were charged alongside as 5th and 6th defendant- Blockz and Stonz Limited and Al-Kenzo Logistics Limited.

He said “The money was meant for the ISPS 2013 but it was released in 2014. This shows a pie chart representation of the funds meant for the ISPS 2013,” Chukwuma said, pointing the court’s attention to the power point projection.”

“89 per cent represents the total money diverted by the accused persons and 11 per cent represents part of the money received by suspects who are now at large and also in the execution of some projects.”

The case was adjourned till April 29, 2016 when the witness will be cross-examined by the defence counsel.

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