‘How Akpobolokemi, others converted NIMASA’s N4.9b into dollars’

An operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Adamu Usman Yusuf, yesterday told a Federal High Court, Lagos that about N4.9 billion was converted into United States dollars by the former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Patrick Akopobolokemi and others charged with money laundering.

Akopobolokemi is standing trial alongside a former Commander of the Military Joint Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield in the Niger Delta. Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Atewe, Kime Engozu and Josephine Otuaga over a N13 billion fraud.

Led in evidence by EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, the witness told the court that during an investigation, it was discovered that the money was handed over to the third and fourth defendants (Engozu and Otuaga).

Yusuf told the trial judge, Saliu Saidu: “At the end of our investigation, we discovered that about N4.9 billion was converted into United States dollars and the money was handed to the third and fourth accused persons. We also recovered evidence, where the defendants acknowledged the receipt of the money and same was forwarded to the forensic unit for expert opinion.”

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Yusuf told the court that the defendants used different companies and accounts to launder billions of money from the Joint Task Force operation account.

The companies are Jagan Limited; Jagan Trading Company Limited; Jagan Global Services Limited; Al-Nald Limited; Paper Warehouse Limited; Eastpoint Integrated Services Limited and De-New link Integrated Services Limited.

The EFCC claimed that the accused committed the alleged fraud between September 5, 2014 and May 20, 2015.

He said during an investigation, letters of request were sent to GTB Bank, Heritage Bank, Diamond Bank, Stanbic IBTC Bank as well as First City Monument Bank (FCMB) demanding for account statements and operating documents of beneficiaries of the accounts.

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Earlier, the EFCC in an amended 22-count charge alleged that the defendants sometimes in 2014 in Lagos converted to personal use N8, 537, 586, 798.58 property of NIMASA contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

They were also alleged to have between September 5, 2014 and May 20, 2015 converted to personal use the sum of N2,006,270,930.67 through Jagan Limited, property of NIMASA among other charges.

The matter has been adjourned till February 3, 2017.



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