The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested the immediate past Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency [NIMASA], Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi, two weeks after he was fired from his post.
A source in NIMASA told PREMIUM TIMES Mr. Akpobolokemi was arrested in Lagos Thursday morning and was detained at the Lagos office of the EFCC in the Ikoyi area of the city.
“He was taken in this morning around 10 a.m.,” the NIMASA insider said. “Some of our other officials have also been summoned while EFCC operatives have been conducting discreet investigation here. There is tension everywhere.
“One of our people just returned from EFCC and he told me the former DG is still there, sweating profusely as he was being questioned by investigators.”
Our source said while at NIMASA headquarters, EFCC operatives asked questions about some curious multibillion naira transactions approved by Mr. Akpobolokemi, especially during the dying days of the last administration.
“For instance, they wanted to know how a whopping N13 billion was spent on the acquisition of land for the permanent site of the Nigerian Maritime University in Delta,” our source said.
“They also asked about other transactions they believed were fraudulent, including transfers of millions of dollars from NIMASA accounts to other accounts.”
The spokesperson for the EFCC could not be reached for comments. He did not answer multiple calls as well as a text message to his telephone.
But an official in the prosecution unit of the EFCC in Lagos confirmed that Mr. Akpobolokemi was brought into the complex on Thursday morning.
“I’m aware he is with us but I don’t have details about the case against him or what investigators are asking him,” said the official, who cannot be named because he has no permission to speak to journalists on the matter.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on July 16 sacked Mr. Akpobolokemi and directed him to immediately hand over all government property in his possession and vacate office.
There have been several allegations of financial impropriety against NIMASA during Mr. Akpobolokemi’s tenure, including those which suggested the agency funded the lavish lifestyles of some Niger Delta militants and bankrolled most of the hate campaigns against Mr. Buhari in the run-up to the 2015 elections.
In 2012, the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, accused the maritime agency of failing to render its audited accounts from 2007 to 2011.