Ekene Nwakuche, a Personal Assistant to a former Director General of the National Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, yesterday narrated at a Federal High Court in Lagos, how the sum of N1.5 billion belonging to the agency was diverted while his boss was at the helm. Nwakuche, the 11th prosecution witness in Akpobolokemi’s trial told Justice Ayokunle Faji that the fund was diverted between 2013 and 2015.
Nwakuche, while being led in evidence by EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, relied on documents tendered by the anti-graft agency in support of the allegation to buttress his claims.
He narrated several transactions he alleged he was instructed to carry out by the then NIMASA Director of Intelligence Gathering, Captain Bala Agaba, in relation to the fraud.
Agaba is currently serving a seven-year jail term for misappropriating NIMASA funds and breach of trust. The court was shown documents for request and approval of funds on intelligence gathering, which were allegedly diverted. The witness testified that on December 23, 2013, a Committee on Intelligence Gathering unlawfully paid N1.5 billion to companies owned by NIMASA Directors.
He listed the companies as; Ake Intergrated NiG Limited, YCCE Limited, Global Seal International Limited, Cofa Fada, Gidago Nig Limited and Alkenzo Nig Limited. He said the firms were used by the Directors to divert the N1.5 billion.
Nwakuche alleged that the firms were used to change dollars as against the purpose stated in the proposal and approval of procuring security support on ISPS. The witness testified that he delivered the money after it was converted by the companies brought by the second defendant, Agaba an some other directors to the second defendant.
Further hearing in the matter continues today. One of charge reads against Akpobolokemi and his co-accused reads: “That you, Patrick Akpobolokemi, Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba and Captain Warredi Enisuot , on or about the 20th day of December, 2013 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this court did conspire amongst yourselves to commit an offence, to wit: Conversion of the sum of N1, 151, 214, 000.00 property of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, which sum you reasonably ought to have known form part of proceeds of your unlawful act”.