By OKOSUN OKHUELEIGBE
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday arraigned the former Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi for N1.153billion fraud.
Also in court were seven staff of the agency including Captain Eziekiel Agaba, Executive Director, and their two companies.
They appeared before Justice Salihu Sa’idu of the Federal High Court Lagos on a 30- count charge bordering on conspiracy, fraudulent conversion of funds and Money Laundering.
Others include Ekene Nwakuche, Felix Bob-Nabena, Captain Warredi Enisuoh, Governor Amechee Juan, Ugo Frederick, Timi Alari, Alkenzo Limited and Penniel Engineering Services Limited.
It was learnt that the accused persons allegedly conspired to convert and launder several sums of money running into billions of naira under the guise of providing security intelligence around the Maritime domain.
In other to perfect their corrupt ingenuity, the DG was said to have set up a committee on intelligence with the second accused person, Captain Agaba as chairman which they used as a conduit pipe to siphon money.
The committee, it was alleged received a total sum of N1, 153,000,000 between December 2013 to July 2015.
In disbursing the sum, the accused persons allegedly conspired and hired companies which investigation revealed were neither registered nor have requisite capacity to provide such services.
Investigation further revealed that most of the companies contracted were either nominated by the accused persons or are directly owned by them.
One of the counts read, “that you Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, Captain Eziekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Felix Bob-Nabena, Captain Warredi Enisuoh, Governor Amechee Juan, Ugo Frederick, Timi Alari, Alkenzo Limited and Penniel Engineering Services Limited on or about 20th of December 2013 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this court did conspire among yourselves to commit an offence to wit; conversion of the sum N1,153,000,000 property of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency which sum was derived from stealing and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18a of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act 2012 and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act”.
After listening to the charge, the accused persons pleaded not guilty.
Prosecuting counsel Rotimi Oyedepo prayed the court to remand the accused person in prison and fix a date for trial.
In opposing the bail application for the first accused person, Oyedepo filed a counter affidavit praying the court not to grant the defendant’s application.
He argued that the first defendant had jumped the administrative bail granted to him by the Commission. He further added that someone who could not honor administrative bail should not be trusted to honour bail granted by the court.
Justice Salihu however admitted the first accused person to bail in the sum of N100,000, 000 and two sureties. One of the sureties must have a landed property in either Lekki, Ikoyi or Victoria Island. The other surety must be in either Federal of State government employment not below the rank of Director.
Justice Salihu adjourned the case to January 29, 2016 for the commencement of trial and ordered that the accused persons be remanded in Ikoyi prison pending perfection of their bail terms.
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