N2.3bn Scam: Ex-NIMASA DG, others remanded in prison custody, trial starts Dec. 7

Posted by News Express | 5 December 2015 | 3,146 times

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Former Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, Executive Director Captain Eziekiel Bala Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche and Governor Amechee Juan, were yesterday ordered to be remanded in prison by Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court Lagos pending perfection of their bail terms. The case was subsequently adjourned to December 7, 2015 for the commencement of trial.

The men, alongside Blockz and Stonz Limited and Al-Kenzo Logistics Limited were arraigned by arraigned on a 22-count charge of conspiracy fraudulent conversion and money laundering by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The accused persons are alleged to have fraudulently converted the sum of N2,365,600,000 meant for the implementing of the International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code which NIMASA was the designated implementation agency.

The former DG was said to have gotten presidential approval for the release of the said monies through the office of the then National Security Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, Colonel Sambo Dasuki.

For the purpose of executing the ISPS, a committee chaired by Captain Bala was set up by Akpobolokemi. Other members of the committee are Captain Warredi Enisuoh Mr Vincent Udoye, Governor Amechee Juan, Captain OBF Ola dipole and two NPA staff. The committee was mandated to coordinate the activities relating to the ISPS in line with international regulations and the scope in Nigeria.

Investigation however revealed that, upon receiving the money, the committee instead of executing the project diverted the entire sum to their personal use, using companies owned by them and their associates to lauder the illegal proceeds.

One of the counts  reads: “You Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, Captain Eziekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Amechee Juan between 23rd of December 2013 and 13th March 2014 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this court did commit an offence to wit; conversion of the sum N437,726,666,66 (Four Hundred and Thirty Seven Million, Seven Hundred and Twenty Six Thousand , Sixty and Six Kobo) property of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act 2012 and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.”

The accused persons pleaded not guilty to all the charges read to them.

In view of the plea of the accused persons, prosecuting Counsel Rotimi Oyedepo requested for trial date and also prayed the court to remand the accused persons in prison custody.

Counsel representing the accused persons:  Joseph Nwobike, SAN for the first accused person, Pascal Madu for the second accused person, Lanre Olayinka for the third, fifth and sixth accused persons, A. I Asemundara for the fourth accused person, filed bail applications praying the court to admit their clients to bail.

Justice Buba granted the accused persons bail in the sum of N50,000,000 each with one surety in like sum. The surety must be a resident of Lagos with a landed property to be verified by the court registrar. Each accused and the surety must deposit their international passport and a passport photograph with the court registry. He further added that each accused must sign an undertaking that he will not delay the trial.

•Photo shows Akpobolokemi.


Source: News Express

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