Ex-DG forged company’s documents to steal N754m from NIMASA —EFCC investigator

AN investigating officer with the EFCC, Mr Chukwuma Orji, said on Tuesday, in Lagos, that Patrick Akpobolokemi, ex-Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and five others, forged documents to steal N754 million from the agency.

Akpobolokemi’s co-defendants are Ezekiel Agaba, a former Executive-Director of NIMASA, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Vincent Udoye, Adegboyega Olopoenia and a company, Gama Marine Nigeria Limited.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Orji had on July 10, during his testimony before an Ikeja High Court, narrated how funds belonging to NIMASA were diverted by Akpobolokemi and his co-defendants using different company accounts under the guise of awarding contracts.

The companies mentioned during his July 10 testimony were Gama Marine Nigeria Limited and Arrow World Consulting Limited.

During Tuesday’s proceedings, Orji revealed that Arrow World Consulting documents were forged, noting that the real owner of the consulting company had previously unsuccessfully bid for a NIMASA contract.

Akpobolokemi and others, the investigator noted, had used the company’s name to perpetrate the fraud.

While being led in evidence by Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, counsel to the EFCC, Orji said: “The real address of Arrow World Consulting is at 1,004 Housing Estate but in the forged document, it was Plot 6, Kudirat Abiola Way, Ikeja, Lagos.

“The account of Arrow World Consulting was opened with Zenith Bank using forged documents. The number of the account is 1014150798.

“N257 million was transferred into the account of Arrow World from the Vimsat Committee account of NIMASA.

“The funds were paid into the account in conspiracy with Akpobolokemi, the Director-General and Agaba, the Executive Director of NIMASA.

“Arrow World never carried out any consultation services for NIMASA and all the money was paid into the account which was run by Nwakuche and Juan in connivance with Agaba.

“There is a NIMASA memo dated May 5, 2015 signed by Agaba authorising the payment of the N257 million into the account, the instructions were given to the Bar Beach branch of Zenith Bank.

“The documents, including a letter to Arrow World’s address at Plot 6, Kudirat Abiola Way, Ikeja, Lagos, signed on behalf of Agaba by Juan, were all forged.

“N92 million was paid from the Vimsat Committee account to the Arrow World account for publicity, boats and cranes, Arrow World never executed any of these contracts.

“On June 17, 2015, an instruction to Zenith Bank was given to transfer N70 million from the account of Arrow World into the account of Philip Emesike whom Nwakuche was impersonating.

“N72 million was also transferred into the account of Caadles Oil and Gas Limited for one Udoh Emakop whom Juan was impersonating.

“Both men converted the money to their private use.”

Explaining the role of Gama Marine Nigeria Limited, Orji said funds were siphoned from NIMASA into the private pockets of the defendants.

“N54 million was earmarked for Gama Marine to execute 13 items in a contract. There was an instruction by Agaba to pay N39.4 million into the account of Gama Marine in Access Bank.

“During our investigations, the Access Bank account statement of Gama Marine showed that they never rendered any of the services in the contract, rather N28 million was transferred to Udoye for his personal use,” he said.

The investigator said that the defendants admitted when they were confronted that the documents of Arrow World Consulting were forged.

He added: “The defendants were confronted with the documents and they told me verbally that they were forged.

“I visited the purported address of Arrow World at Kudirat Abiola Way daily for more than a week trying to locate the office of the organisation.

“I told Juan to follow me to find out the real address. He admitted that the address did not exist and that the address was a figment of his imagination.

“He even told me about how he forged the electricity bills used to open the Arrow World Consulting account at Zenith Bank.”

The case was adjourned till November 6, 10, 13, 16 and 17 and 27 to 30 for continuation of trial.

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