How court jailed ex-NIMASA Executive Director for fraud

Former executive director at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Ezekiel Agaba [PHOTO CREDIT: NIMASA on facebook]
Former executive director at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Ezekiel Agaba [PHOTO CREDIT: NIMASA on facebook]

A former executive director at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Ezekiel Agaba, was guilty of laundering N1.5 billion belonging to the agency, a Lagos Division of the Federal High Court ruled on Wednesday.

Ibrahim Buba, the judge, sentenced the official to seven years in prison on each of the seven counts, totalling 49 years.

The sentences, however, are to run concurrently.

“The sentence runs with effect from today (Wednesday),” Mr Buba added.

The judge said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the convict stole the sum from NIMASA while he was in charge of Maritime, Safety and Shipping.

The court declined to grant the application of EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, for the forfeiture of property allegedly bought by Mr Agaba from the proceeds of the crime.

The judge agreed with the convict’s lawyer, E.D. Oyeneke, that the property is the subject of another suit at the federal high court.

During the trial, a witness said Mr Agaba bought a land in Lekki for N70 million

Earlier, Mr Oyeneke had pleaded that the court order non-custodial sentencing for Mr Agaba. The lawyer said his client’s age places him at a high risk of contracting COVID-19 in prison.

Mr Buba did not grant the plea.

“In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, counsel should consider approaching the state for pardon for the convict,” he added.

The EFCC had in 2015 arraigned Mr Agaba alongside a former NIMASA Managing Director, Patrick Akpolobokemi; a former NIMASA staff, Ekene Nwakuche; and the chairman of Ndokwa Local Government Area (LGA) of Delta State, Juan Amechee, for allegedly laundering N2.6 billion.

They pleaded not guilty.

READ ALSO: Court Jails Ex-NIMASA Executive Director Seven Years

Mr Akpobolokemi filed a no-case submission but Mr Buba, on October 16, 2017, dismissed it.

It was, however, was overturned by the Court of Appeal which unanimously discharged and acquitted the NIMASA boss.

Dangote adbanner 728x90_2 (1)

Following the appellate court’s decision, the anti-graft agency on October 10, 2019, withdrew the charges against Messrs Amechee and Nwakuche.

But the EFCC maintained an amended charge against Mr Agaba.

The Commission told the judge that between December 23, 2013, and March 13, 2014, in Lagos, Mr Agaba converted the N1.5bn in tranches of N437,726,666.60; N66,800,000; N21,802,000; N402,480, 000; N525,000,000; N70,000.000; and N176, 000,000.

The funds were laundered through Seabulk Offshore Operator Ltd, Ace Protehesis Limited, Extreme Vertex Nigeria Limited and Aroward Consulting Limited.



Advertisement

PT Mag Campaign AD

All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.


Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.

Donate


TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...



BE THE FIRST TO KNOW! Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

DOWNLOAD THE PREMIUM TIMES MOBILE APP

Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application