How former NIMASA DG, others used committees to launder N422m, witness tells court

A witness on Monday told a Federal High Court in Lagos, how committees set up by former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, was used to launder money running into millions of Naira.

Kanu Idagu, an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), said this during the trial of Akpobolokemi and nine others on a 40 count charge bordering on fraud related offences.

Charged alongside Apkobolokemi were Captain Bala Agaba; Ekene Nwakuche; Felix Bob-Nabena; Captain Warredi Enisouh; Governor Juan; Ugo Frederick and Timi Alari.

Also charged were two companies; Al-kenzo Ltd and Penniel Engineering Services Ltd.

Led in evidence by the prosecutor, Mr Festus Keyamo, the witness, told the court that as head of the EFCC Special task force, he co-ordinates investigations, as well as carries out searches and arrest.

He told the court that the force received a petition in the last quarter of 2015, of some activities in NIMASA, during the period when Akpobolokemi was DG.

After the witness’ oral testimony, the prosecutor prayed the court for an adjournment to enable him present documentary evidence.

Consequently, Justice Saliu Saidu adjourned the case to December 15 and 19 for continuation.

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 1.5 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 staffs for their personal use,” 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 Nwakuche.

“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 company’s 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.