N2.6bn Fraud: Suspect Narrates How He Acquired Bullet Proof Car, House
Lagos, Nigeria. Feb. 13, 2018 (AltAfrika)-A former Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi, on Tuesday told Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos how he acquired his bullet-proof car and house in Banana Island, Lagos.
Akpobolokemi is facing trial alongside Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Blockz and Stonz Limited and Al-Kenzo Logistic Limited for allegedly diverting the sum of N2.6bn from the covers of NIMASA between December 2013 and May 2015.
During cross-examination by the defence counsel, Joseph Nwobike, SAN, Akpobolokemi, who denied having any link to all the companies mentioned in the charge by the prosecution, said he was surprised when a prosecution witness, Orji Chukwuma, in his testimony, claimed that he acquired his car and paid for his rented apartment in Banana Island, Lagos with money made from the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code activities in 2014.
Akpobolokemi, who also denied receiving money either in local or foreign currencies from the second defendant, further told the court that all the allowances he received were his entitlements, which came through his salary in NIMASA.
He further told the court that employees and political appointees were entitled to a lot of allowances in NIMASA.
He said: “I used all the allowances I received for my personal use.
“I paid for the car in question by instalments between 2011 and 2013. I didn’t acquire it through the process of ISPS.
“I paid the rent for the house in 2011, 2012 and 2013 with my earnings”.
When asked to explain the process of the ISPS code, he said: “It entails that NIMASA works with relevant stakeholders, including the port terminal, security agents, shipping community etc within the maritime domain to ensure shipping is carried out smoothly”.
He also told the court that the day-to- day activities of ISPS code was coordinated by Captain Bala Agaba, who was the Chairman of the Committee in Nigeria.
The case was adjourned to Wednesday, February 14, 2018 for continuation of trial
Meanwhile, Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, sitting in Maitama, Abuja, on Tuesday granted a preliminary objection made by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, seeking to be removed from a suit filed by Malabu Oil and Gas challenging re-allocation of Oil Prospecting License, OPL 245.
Malabu Oil and Gas had in March 2017 filed the suit against the Federal Government and six others, including the EFCC, a few days after a Federal High Court vacated an interim order of forfeiture on the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245.
Other defendants in the suit are Minister of Petroleum Resources, Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Ltd, Nigerian Agip Exploration Company Ltd, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Dan Etete.
Malabu Oil and Gas had through its counsel, J.A. Achimugu, in a writ of summons marked FHC/ABJ/CS/201/2017, prayed the court for “a declaration that its rights and interest in OPL 245 granted or re-allocated to it is still valid and subsisting”.
It also sought for “a declaration that not being a party to the April 29, 2011, Block 245 resolution agreement, it was not bound by the terms of the said agreement as it relates to or concerns OPL 245″.
The oil company, also sought the court to make an order “compelling government and the ministry to restore to it, its right to the exclusive possession of OPL 245”.
In addition, Malabu also urged the court to make an order of perpetual injunction restraining government and associates, particularly, the sixth defendant (the EFCC), from treating and/or dealing with OPL 245 as a proceed of an offence and from interfering in any manner whatsoever and howsoever with its exclusive right to explore and prospect for petroleum in the area of OPL 245.
At the hearing of the case today, counsel to the EFCC, Johnson Ojogbane, made a preliminary objection, seeking the court to strike out the Commission from the suit.
“We filed a preliminary objection, dated May 18, 2017 and filed on the same day. It is supported by a 9 paragraph affidavit and we rely on each of the paragraph of the affidavit and we move in terms”, Ojogbane prayed.
The plaintiff did not raise any objections.
In view of this, Justice Tsoho granted the prayer, thereby striking out the EFCC from the suit.
“The sixth defendant’s preliminary objection dated and filed on 18th May 2017, is granted. The sixth defendant is hereby struck out from the suit”, Justice Tsoho ruled