Court told how ex-NIMASA boss siphoned N546.8m
By Innocent Anaba
Lagos—A witness, Chukwuemeka Onuoha, a fashion designer, yesterday, told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos how his company, Extreme Vertevex Limited was used to siphon about N546.8million from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, for a contract that was not awarded to him.
Onuoha is the second prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of a former Director-General of NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi and six others over alleged theft of N2.6 billion belonging to 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, is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
In a 22-count charge, the were accused of converting a total of N2, 658,957,666 between December 23, 2013 and May 28 this year. The defendants pleaded not guilty to all the counts.
At resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, Onuoha told the court that the money was paid into his account with Zenith Bank even though he did not tender any proposal or carried out any contract for NIMASA.
Led in evidence by EFCC counsel, Onuoha told the court that the disbursement of the money was facilitated by the 3rd accused (Ekene Nwakuche) who was his secondary school mate.
Giving details of how he received the money, Omnuoha said sometimes in 2003 when Nwakuche secured employment with NIMASA, he (Onuoha) approached him and pleaded with him to remember him if there was any contract he could implement.
He said that shortly after he made the request, Nwakuche called him on phone to enquire if he had any registered company that could be used for transactions as well as the company’s accounts.
He further said that when he enquired from Nwakuche on what the money was meant for, he was told to wait for further instructions.