Tuesday, February 2, 2016 10:03 pm
A Prosecution witness, Uche Obilor in the ongoing trial of former Director-General of NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi and six others today told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos,south west Nigeria how his three companies were paid N905, 800,000 by Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for a contract he did not execute.
Obilor, who is the Managing Director of 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 alongside three other accused persons – 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 twenty- two count criminal charge filed before the court 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 last year. The accused who pleaded not guilty to all the counts are currently on bail.
Led in evidence by EFCC prosecuting 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 N66.8 million was paid to Southern Offshore Limited respectively.
On how his companies got the contract, Obilor told the court that he was approached by Captain Ezekiel Agaba (second accused) that his companies have 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 Captain Agaba to stay execution of the contract.
He also disclosed that Agaba 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, Obilor told the court that he held several meetings with Agaba adding that the remaining N54million 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 Agaba, 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 Agaba, list of job schedule was brought to his attention some of which his companies lacked capacity to carry out.
Justice Buba has adjourned further hearing in the matter till February 5, 16 and 19 respectively.
*The writer, Akin Kuponiyi can be reached at :email@example.com