An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, investigator, Chukwuma Orji, on Tuesday narrated how a former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi, and five others forged company documents to steal N754 million from the agency.
Mr. Akpobolokemi’s co-defendants are Ezekiel Agaba a former Executive-Director of NIMASA, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Vincent Udoye, Adegboyega Olopoenia and a company, Gama Marine Nigeria Limited.
The accused had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
They are being tried before Justice Raliat Adebiyi of an Ikeja Division of the Lagos State High Court.
While being examined by counsel to the crimes commission, Rotimi Oyedepo, Mr. Orji disclosed that the documents of Arrow World Consulting were forged. He said “the real owner of the consulting company had an unsuccessfull bid for a NIMASA contract in the past.”
Mr. Oyedepo had alleged that Mr. Akpobolokemi and his co travellers used the company name to facilitate the NIMASA fraud.
According to the witness “the real address of Arrow World Consulting is at 1004 Housing Estate and in the forged document, the company’s address was given as Plot 6, Kudirat Abiola Way, Ikeja, Lagos
“The account of Arrow World Consulting was opened in Zenith bank using forged documents; the number of the account is 1014150798,” said Mr. Orji.
The witness said Arrow World Consulting never carried out any consultation services for NIMASA and all this money was paid into the account which was run by Messrs. Nwakuche and Juan in connivance with Mr. Agaba. According to him, “N257million was transferred into the account of Arrow World from the Vimsat Committee account of NIMASA.”
“The funds were paid into the account in conspiracy with Mr. Akpobolokemi the Director-General and Mr. Agaba the Executive Director of NIMASA. There is a NIMASA memo dated May 5, 2015 signed by Agaba authorizing the payment of the N257 million into the account, the instructions were given to the Bar Beach branch of Zenith Bank.
“The documents including a letter to Arrow World’s address at Plot 6 Kudirat Abiola Way, Ikeja, Lagos signed on behalf of Agaba by Juan were all forged.
“N92 million was paid from the Vimsat Committee account to the Arrow World account for publicity, boats and cranes. Arrow World never executed any of these contracts.
“On June 17, 2015 an instruction to Zenith Bank was given to transfer N70million from the account of Arrow World into the account of Philip Emesike whom Nwakuche was impersonating.
“N72million was also transferred into the account of Caadles Oil and Gas Limited for one Udoh Emakop whom Juan was impersonating.
“Both men converted the money to their private use,” said Mr. Orji.
Explaining the role of Gama Marine Nigeria Limited, Mr. Orji said funds were siphoned from NIMASA into the private pockets of the defendants.
“N54million was earmarked for Gama Marine to execute 13 items in a contract; there was an instruction by Agaba to pay N39.4million into the account of Gama Marine in Access Bank.
“During our investigations, the Access Bank account statement of Gama Marine showed that they never rendered any of the services in the contract, rather N28milllion was transferred to Udoye for his personal use,” he said.
The investigator said that the defendants admitted when they were confronted that the documents of Arrow World Consulting were forged.
“The defendants were confronted with the documents and they told me verbally that they were forged.
“I visited the purported address of Arrow World at Kudirat Abiola Way daily for more than a week trying to locate the office of the organisation.
“I told Juan to follow me on my voyage to find out the real address, he admitted that the address does not exist and that the address was a figment of his imagination.
He said Mr. Juan also told him about how he forged the electricity bills used to open the Arrow World Consulting account at Zenith Bank,
Justice Adebiyi adjourned the matter till November 6 for continuation of trial.