For three hours on Monday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) witness, Mr. Kanu Idagu, painted a graphic picture before a Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, on how committees set up by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) was used to launder monies running into billions of naira.
Idagu, who is Head, Special Task Force that investigated public sector crime in the anti-graft agency was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Festus Keyamo, at the resumed trial of Patrick Akpobolokemi, a former Director General of the NIMASA.
Akpobolokemi is standing trial on a 40-count charge bordering on the offence.
Also charged alongside the former DG are Captain Bala Agaba; Ekene Nwakuche; Felix Bob-Nabena; Captain Warredi Enisouh.
Others are Governor Juan; Ugo Frederick, Timi Alari and two companies – Al-kenzo Ltd and Penniel Engineering Services Ltd.
They had all pleaded not guilty to the charge and were granted bail by the court.
The witness told the court that as head of the EFCC Special task force, he co-ordinates investigations, as well as carry out searches and arrests.
He said that the force received a petition in the last quarter of 2015, of some activities in NIMASA, during the period when Akpobolokemi was DG.
According to him, his team embarked on investigation and in the process, discovered that NIMASA had set up various committees some of which were used to launder monies through companies and Bureau de Change.
He said that specifically, a committee on intelligence was set up and headed by the second accused, with an Access bank account Number 0688939609 opened for the receipt of monies.
“Between December 20, 2013 and July 7, 2015, the committee received money in tranches running into N1.5 billion.
“The chairman of the committee raised several internal memos to the director of finance and accounts, wherein it was claimed that the funds were to be used for intelligence based security activities.
“The companies used in furtherance of these activities were either owned or nominated by NIMASA staff for their personal benefits”, he said.
He told the court that one of such companies was Aler Integrated Services Ltd, whose alter ego was one Uche Obilor.
“Another company is Kofa Fada Ltd, a bureau de change company which the second accused instructed Obilor to transfer the sum of N10 million into.
“The sum of N2 million was also transferred into the account of one Al-Kenzo Logistics, whose alter ego is the third accused, Ekene Nwakuchey.
“The second accused also made a claim of a business contract between NIMASA and one Kofa Fada Ltd, with the sum of N26 million transferred to the companies account, while the dollar equivalent was handed to him.
“The second accused also transferred the sum of N86 million to one Usseinian Ltd and the dollar equivalent transferred to him,” he said.
According to the witness, the third accused (Nwakuche) who is P.A to the second accused, was asked to coordinate accounts for the purpose of diverting money.
He said that the third accused formulated an Enterprise bank account in the name of Adams CDA global services, belonging to one of his friends, and transferred into it, the sum of N120 million.
He said that the dollar equivalent was handed over to the second accused.
The witness said that the third accused also nominated an access bank account for Gidoga Investment Ltd, with the sum of N65 million transferred into same account.
According to the witness, other accounts were opened in the names of companies such as, Ballon and associates, KXM Procurement Ltd, FBA Nasbela and Co, Crescent Pillars and Co, as well as Penniel Engineering Services.
He said that in all, a total of N422, 680 million was directly transferred to the second accused, who claimed that same was remitted to the first accused.
After the witness’ oral testimony, the prosecutor then prayed the court for an adjournment to enable him present documentary evidence.
Consequently, Justice Saliu Saidu adjourned the case to Dec. 15 and 19 for continuation.
In the charge, the accused were alleged to have committed the offence between December 2013 and July 2015.
They were alleged to have converted over N3. 4 billion belonging to NIMASA, to their personal uses.
The offence is said to have contravened the provisions of sections 15 (1), (3), and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (prohibition) Amendment Act, 2012.
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