A witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Orji Chukwuma, on Wednesday, tendered before a Federal High Court in Lagos the receipt of the N40m house rent allegedly paid by a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Patrick Akpobolokemi, for a rented apartment on Banana Island, Lagos. The N40m, the witness said, was paid in three tranches of N12m, N14m and N14m, and covered Akpobolokemi’s rent for two years – for 2013 and 2014. The witness, an EFCC investigator, also tendered before the court the receipt of a Toyota Landcruiser bulletproof jeep, which Akpobolokemi allegedly bought from a car dealer, Vision Motors, for N38.5m.Chukwuma tendered the receipts as exhibits at the resumed trial of Akpobolokemi for an alleged fraud of N2.6bn in NIMASA.
Akpobolokemi was arraigned alongside five others by the EFCC before Justice Ibrahim Buba on December 4, 2015. Standing trial with him are Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Blockz and Stonz Ltd. and Al-Kenzo Logistics Ltd. The EFCC alleged that the accused persons conspired among themselves and converted to their private use various sums of money which amounted to N2.6bn, belonging to NIMASA. The alleged fraud was said to have been perpetrated within NIMASA between 2014 and 2015. But the defendants had pleaded not guilty. Chukwuma was the 12th witness that the EFCC would call in a bid to substantiate its claims. Led in evidence at the resumed proceedings on Wednesday by the EFCC prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, Chukwuma tendered three documents, which were Akpobolokemi’s house rent receipt of two years on Banana Island for N40m.
He also tendered the receipt of a Toyota Landcruiser bulletproof jeep, issued by Vision Motors for the sum of N38.5m, and Akpobolokemi’s Asset Declaration Form. The documents were admitted in evidence against the accused person and marked by Justice Buba as exhibits P63 and P64 and P65 respectively. The witness explained to the court that Akpobolokemi was a former lecturer at the Niger Delta University, where he earned a little above N100,000 as salary per month.
Justice Buba adjourned further proceedings in the case till November 26, 2016.The EFCC alleged that Akpobolokemi conspired with others to defraud NIMASA of N2.6bn while he was the helmsman at the agency.In one instance, the anti-graft agency alleged that sometime in February, 2014, in Lagos, the accused persons conspired among themselves to convert the sum of N437,726,666.60, belonging to NIMASA, to their own use. They were further alleged to have, on January 9, 2014, converted to their private use the sum of N66,800, 000 property of NIMASA. The accused persons were further alleged to have, between April and August, 2014, converted to their own use, the sum of N21,802,000 and additional N53,749,000.00 respectively. The EFCC told the court that they acted contrary to sections 15 (3) and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2012.