By Lukman Olabiyi
A Prosecution Witness in the ongoing trial of ex-Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi and six other over alleged theft, Thursday gave the breakdown of how the sum of N1.5billion was looted from the account of the agency.
The witness, Teslim Ajuwon gave the detail before Justice Raliat Adebiyi of the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere.
Akpobolokemi was arraigned alongside Captain Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Amechee Juan, Vincent Udoye, Captain Adegboyega Sahib Olopoenia and a company, Gama Marine Nigeria Limited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The 1st to 5th defendants (Akpobolokemi, Captain Agaba, Nwakuche, Juan, Udoye) were alleged to have between October 30, 2014 and May 6, 2015 converted to their personal use N346,844,680.00 property of NIMASA released to them for the implementation of Voluntary International Maritime Organisation Member State Audit Scheme (VIMSAS).
They are standing trial on a 13-count bordering on stealing and forgery, preferred against them by EFCC.
The witness in his testimony disclosed that many companies benefited from the money looted from the agency’s account.
Ajuwon who is a compliance officer of a new generation bank, told the court that on August 29, 2014, the sum of N498.2million was transferred from the agency’s account to an account titled Committee of VIMSAS account.
On May 20, 2015, the sum of N318million was also transferred from NIMASA into the same account .
The witness who was led in eveidence by the EFCC’s counsel Rotimi Oyedepo stated that on September 15, 2014, there was a transfer of the sum of N8.5,50,000 into the account of Auster Ventures account.
The anti- graft agency witness also said that there was a transfer of the sum of N11.4million into the account of Liquid garden ventures ltd on September 29 2014, adding that there was two outward transfer to Kofa Fada Nigeria ltd on October 30, the first transefer was N35million and the second was N61.8million.
According to him there was on November 19, 2014, there was an outward transfer of N4.2million into the account of specialty enterprises West Africa ltd, on May 28 there was an outward transfer of N257million in favour of Aroward Consulting ltd.
Ajuwon told the court that the EFCC wrote his bank requesting for some customers accounts documents of Vincent Udoye, Liquid Gardens, Committee of VIMSAS and Aroward ltd.
During cross examination, the witness admitted that Apobolokeme was not a signatory to any of the accounts he mentioned above.
He also stated that he is not in any position to state the workings of the account mentioned above.
Ajuwon aslo admitted that the transfers were authorised by NIMASA, but that not being a staff of the agency he did not know the reasons why the monies were disbursed.
He admitted that some of the defendants did not benefit from the transactions listed above.
Earlier, the defendants counsels had opposed the tendering of some documents by the prosecutor. They said that for the protector to tender the documents which he emanated from the bank he needs to certify the documents.
They argued that the document was a private document that needs to be certified before a public entity like EFCC, can tender it in Court.
Justice Adebiyi said “This letter is being tendered by the maker not the EFCC, the letter is admissible as it is, it is produced by the maker. The submission by learned counsels that the document requires double certification is unmeritorious and is therefore over ruled.” she said
However, the case was further adjourned to April 20, for a continuation of trial.