- EFCC investigator, Chukwudi Orji, disclosed to the Ikeja High Court how money supposedly appropriated for research work was shared by Akpobolokemi and his co-defendants
- Orji disclosed how the accused individuals took steps to conceal the source of the siphoned funds in order to cover their tracks
- The EFCC investigator narrated to the court how the fraudulent activity perpetuated via a fake company was uncovered by the commission
During the ongoing trial of the ex-DG of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, at an Ikeja High Court on Monday, July 10, an EFCC investigator Chukwudi Orji disclosed how the former maritime boss and five other staff members N754m belonging to the agency.
Akpobolokemi and six others - Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Vincent Udoye, Adegboyega Olopoenia and Gama Marine Nigeria Ltd - are facing a 13-count charge of stealing and fraud.
According to reports, while addressing the court, Orji stated: “Vimsat Committee, a committee of NIMASA had opened an account in Zenith Bank. This account only had two inflows.
“On August 29, 2015, N498.4m was paid into that account by NIMASA and on May 20, 2015, N318m was also paid into that account by NIMASA.
“This gave the account a total inflow of N816.2m. On Sep. 29, 2015, there was a transfer of N11m into the account of one Lakewood Garden Ventures Ltd from the Vimsat Committee account.
“The money was never used for research work as it was mandated to be, this money was part of the sharing formula of the defendants.”
Explaining the role of Vincent Udoye in the alleged scam, Orji stated: “On March 6, 2015 N7.8m was transferred from Vimsat account into the Diamond Bank account with number -0020802815 of the fifth defendant (Udoye).
“On June 4, 2015, he transferred N5m from that account into another Diamond Bank account with number 006567038 which was also operated by him.
“The N5m transferred was fixed on the same day and was liquidated on Sep. 2, 2014 and he was paid an interest of N24,000.
“The N5m was still in his account as at the time the EFCC asked for his statement.
“He also transferred N2.5m into the bank account of Adegboyega Olopoenia (the sixth defendant).
“The N7.8m disbursed by the defendants was part of funds gotten from Gama Marine Nigeria Ltd but the funds were originally from the account of the Vimsat Committee in Zenith Bank.
“All these transfers were done in a bid to conceal the source of the funds.”
The EFCC investigator also shed light on the role of Gama Marine Nigeria Ltd in the alleged fraud.
According to Orji, the sixth defendant Adegboyega Olopoenia was a signatory to the company’s account.
He revealed that Olopoenia transferred N10m from that account in six tranches to Vincent Udoye, making a total of N60m.
He stated: “It was conceived to be used under the guise of award of contract to Gama Marine but there was no contract.”
Another fake company, Arrow World Consulting Ltd was brought into the mix, with Orji disclosing how the defendants made use of the company to transfer money from NIMASA.
He said: “In relation to Arrow World Consulting, the third (Ekene Nwakuche) and fourth (Governor Juan) defendants were the signatories to the account.
“Our findings were that the accounts of Arrow World Consulting received the bulk sum from the Vimsat Committee account on Feb. 12, 2015.
“They received N230m and they received another N17m from the account on May 6, 2015.
“Nwakuche and Juan used fictitious names while operating the Arrow World Consulting account; Nwakuche operated as Philip Emesike and Juan operated as Udoh Emakop.
“When we invited Nwakuche to our office, he confessed to be using the alias Philip Emesike saying he used the name in bank documents.
“He explained to me and my team embers that he used to sign as Emesike and he demonstrated to us how he used to sign the signature.
“N70m was sent by Nwakuche into the bank account of Dorcas Nwakuche and N70m was paid into the bank account of Kadice Oil and Gas Ltd.
“The third and fourth defendants also made various transfers to different accounts from the Arrow World Consulting account.”
The court was told by the investigator, how the forged documents used to carry out bank transactions by Arrow World Consulting, were uncovered by the commission.
He stated: “Arrow World Consulting did not do any work for NIMASA. I personally led the team to visit the company’s address at 1004 Housing Estate, Victoria Island.
“I met the younger brother of the original owner of the company who was residing at the premises. I was told that the owner of the company had travelled out of the country.
“Shakespeare Solicitors, the lawyers to the real owner of Arrow World Consulting, came to the EFCC office with a power of attorney and made a statement.
“The lawyers commenced an action at the Ikeja High Court against Zenith Bank in which judgment was given in favor of the real owner of Arrow World Consulting.
“The real owner of Arrow World was awarded N10m damages by Justice F. Bankole-Oki against Zenith Bank for opening the account without the consent of the owners — the number of that suit is LD/1872/CMW/2016.”
The case was adjourned till July 11 by the presiding judge Raliatu Adebiyi.
An infographic released by @transparencITng also outlines the details of the entire trial as shown below:
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com previously reported that the EFCC slammed two separate charges in two different courts on the former director general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Patrick Apkobolokemi, and several others.
In one of the charges filed at the Federal High Court, he is facing a 40 count charge of fraud and money laundering for the sum of N34.5billion. In the second, which was filed at the Lagos State High Court, he is accused of stealing another N600m.
Watch this NAIJ.com TV video of EFCC staff members staging a walk against corruption: