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Wednesday, 3 February 2016

How NIMASA Paid Me Without Working For Them

During the ongoing trial of a former Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi and six others, a witness has told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos that his three companies were paid N905, 800,000 for a contract he did not execute. The witness, Uche Obilor who is the Managing Director the three companies, Ace Prosthesis Limited, Seabulk Offshore Limited and Southern Offshore Limited told the court that the money was paid into the companies’ two bank accounts even though he did not tender any proposal or carry out

any contract for NIMASA.

Akpobolokemi was arraigned before Justice Ibrahim Buba along with three others – Captain Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan – and three companies, namely Blockz and Stonz Limited, Kenzo Logistics Limited and Al-Kenzo Logistic Limited. In a 22-count charge by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), they were accused of converting a total of N2, 658,957,666 between December 23, 2013 and May 28, 2015. They have pleaded not guilty to all the counts. 

Led with evidence by EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, Obilor disclosed that the sum of N437million was paid to Ace Prosthesis Limited, while N402 million was paid to Seabulk Offshore Limited and N66.8million was paid to Southern Offshore Limited respectively. On how his companies got the contract, Obilor told that court that he was approached by Captain Ezekiel Agaba (2nd defendants) that his companies had been awarded a contract to assist NIMASA meet the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code for 2014. 

He also told the court that shortly after the money was paid, he was told by the second defendant to stay execution on the contract. He also disclosed that the second defendant later directed him to transfer the money into different accounts until N54 million was left in the accounts. Under cross examination, by Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN) lawyer to Akpobolokemi (first defendant) Obilor told the court that he held several meetings with the second defendants adding that the remaining N54 million left in the account had been transferred to the coffers of the Federal Government. He also admitted that he did not have any discussions with the Akpobolokemi neither did he receive any instruction from him.

When asked by lawyer to the 2nd defendant Mr. E G Onyeka whether he (Obilor) was aware that two of his staff issued and signed several invoices to NIMASA he said, ‘’I am on top of the whole exercise and I am unaware that they signed any document’. Obilor also admitted that during the meetings he had with the second defendant, a list of job schedule was brought to his attention some of which his company lacked capacity to carry out. 

Justice Buba has adjourned further hearing in the matter till February 5, 16 and 19 respectively.

I have always said that the level of corruption that went on under the last administration would shock us all to our cores and to think this is only a small part of the entire corruption investigation being uncovered slowly. Monies which could have been used to develop Nigeria so well and used to save countless of lives were squandered away mindlessly and shamelessly.

I am just really eager about the convictions that would come in the light of these investigations.

1 comment:

  1. I see a pattern emerging: the counsel for the DG is trying to establish that his client didn't authorise the disbursements.But, as the chief executive, he stands liable for the conduct of his subordinates, especially when the money in question is not someone's personal money.


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