A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos heard that a former Director-General of the Nigeria Maritime and Administration Agency (NIMASA) Patrick Akpobolokemi and his management team spent the agency’s N18million meant for intelligence gathering on massage chairs for themselves.
A prosecution witness Mrs Margaret Ekong, told Justice Ayokunle Faji that she supplied the chairs to Akpobolokemi. Ekong alleged that Akpobolokemi took delivery of three of the chairs allotted to him. She claimed that he took one to his house on Banana Island, one to his mother’s house and the last one to his house in Delta State.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) witness said the second defendant in the case, Captain Bala Agaba, took two chairs as well as others, adding that funds voted for intelligence gathering was used to pay for them. Agaba, who was at the NIMASA Directorate of intelligence gathering at the time, is serving a seven-year jail term in relation to another charge bordering on breach of trust.
Led in evidence by EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, Ekong told the court that she submitted two companies’ name for the contract as requested by the then NIMASA management.
The chairs, she said, were supplied in 2013 and payment was made in 2014 after a series of reminders. When Oyedepo asked the witness where she got payment for the chairs from, Ekong replied that it was from NIMASA.
The ninth prosecution witness Ekene Nwakuche also testified and he claimed that all transactions be it cash transfer or withdrawal were his responsibility. Nwakuche said he joined NIMASA in 2013 and was seconded as Personal Assistant to Agaba.
Nwakuche also told the court that the Access Bank branch on the ground floor of the NIMASA building in Apapa was the one the agency used for transactions.
Justice Faji adjourned till November 29, 30, and December 1, for continuation of trial.
Part of the counts against the defendants read: “That you, Patrick Akpobolokemi and Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba on or about the 10th of July 2014, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Court converted the sum of N86Million, property of NIMASA which sum you reasonable ought to have know forms part of proceeds of unlawful act to wit: criminal breach of trust and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15 (2)(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.
“That you, Patrick Akpobolokemi and Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba, on or about the 10th of July, 2014, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this court converted the sum of N18,080,000, property of NIMASA through KACHOS NIGER 4 LIMITED, which sum you reasonable ought to have know forms part of proceeds of unlawful act to wit: criminal breach of trust and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15 (2)(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 19 of the same Act