During the ongoing trial of former Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi and six others, a prosecution witness, Uche Obilor, confessed that he collected a lot of money from the NIMASA without executing any contract.
Mr. Obilor is the Managing Director of three companies, Ace Prosthesis Limited, Seabulk Offshore Limited, and Southern Offshore Limited. He told the court that N905.8 million was paid into the companies’ two bank accounts even though he did not tender any proposal for contracts to the agency.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), took into custody Akpobolokemi, Captain Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juwan, and three companies, Blockz and Stonz Limited, Kenzo Logistics Limited and Al-Kenzo Logistic Limited. They were before Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos, on Tuesday 3rd Febrauary, 2016.
In a 22-count charge filed by EFCC, they were alleged to have diverted a whopping sum of N2,658,957,666 between December 23, 2013 and May 28 2015. However, the defendants pleaded not guilty to all the counts. Meanwhile, the EFCC legal team, as led by Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) got in contact with Obilor, who explained how he got the money from the Agency. Obilor said he was approached by Captain Agaba (second defendant) who said his companies have been awarded a contract to assist NIMASA meet the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code for 2014.
He also told the court that after the money was paid, he was told by the second defendant to state execution on the contract. He also disclosed that the second defendant later directed him to transfer the money into different accounts until N54 million was left in the accounts so as to cut down suspicions. Under cross examination, by Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN) and lawyer to Akpobolokemi (first defendant), Obilor told the court that he held several meetings with the second defendant adding that the remaining N54 million left in the account had been transferred to the coffers of the Federal Government.
The lawyer to the defendant asked Mr. Obilor if he was aware that two of his staff issued and signed several invoices to NIMASA, he responded in the negative.
“I am on top of the whole exercise and I am unaware that they signed any document.” Mr Obilor said.
The case has been adjourned by Justice Buba for further hearing, to 5th, 16th and 19th respectively.