EFCC deceived me, former NIMASA DG tells court
The former acting Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Haruna Jauro, on Thursday, narrated to the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, how the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) deceived him by telling him he would appear in court as a witness against his former boss, Patrick Akpobolokemi.
Giving evidence at the resumed trial-within-trial over a N304.1 million fraud charge made against him by the anti-graft agency, Jauro, who was being led in evidence by his lawyer, Olalekan Ojo, maintained that in July 2015, a team of operatives from the EFCC, led by one Mr Ghali, had visited NIMASA, while he acted as Director-General after the sack of Akpobolokemi.
“The operatives told me that they were at NIMASA to investigate its activities and further inquired from me if I was a substantive or acting Director-General.
“I told the operatives that I was seating in acting capacity. The operatives then asked me if I would like to be confirmed Director-General.
“I replied yes and the leader then told me that he will be happy if I am confirmed as substantive Director-General, adding that my cooperation will be needed.
“He then told me that they were there to investigate the former Director-General and then asked me about my involvement in the running of the agency.
“I told him my involvement included employment of staff, procurement procedures, payment procedures, budget proposals and many others.
“After some days, he came back to me and said he had discovered that all I told him about my activities in NIMASA are correct and that I had nothing to hide, adding that EFCC will now make me a witness in the trial of the former Director-General.
“For me, the good news ended there, as the whole story changed after I got to the EFCC for interrogation.
“There, at the commission, I was given an asset declaration form, which I filled while my lawyer was not allowed access to the interrogation table.
“After visiting the commission several times, I was, thereafter, informed that “orders” from Abuja says I should be detained,” he added.
While being cross-examined, counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, however, questioned as to whether during the time of interrogation at the commission he was forced to make admissions, the former acting NIMASA Director-General said “no”.
It will be recalled that Jauro took over the leadership of NIMASA after his former boss, Akpobolokemi, was charged to court on six separate suits involving corruption and money laundering.
Jauro was dragged to court together with Dauda Bawa and Thlumbau Enterprises Limited on a 19-count charge which hinges on fraud to the tune of N304.1 million.
Specifically, they were docked on April 12, 2016 and had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The matter was adjourned till April 28, 2017 for adoption of final written addresses.