The Economy and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC, on Tuesday, arraigned the former acting Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Haruna Jauro, and six others before a Lagos Federal High Court, over an alleged stealing and conversion of the agency’s money amounting to N645,418,000.
The anti-graft agency in two separate charges accused the NIMASA officials, including former Executive Director, Maritime Labour & Cabotage Services of the agency, Obi Callistus Nwabueze of conspiracy, illegal conversion and stealing.
In the first charge number FHC/L/149C/16, consisting of nineteen counts, the commission accused Jauro, Dr Dauda Bistrus Bawa and a Limited liability company, Thlumbau Enterprises Limited of conspiring and converting the sum of N314,418,000 property of NIMASA to personal use.
In the second charge number FHC/L/148C/16 the EFCC arraigned Nwabueze, Dismass Alu Adoon, Grand Pact Limited and Global Sea Investment Limited before the same court on an eight count charge of conspiring, converting and stealing the sum of N331 million belonging to NIMASA.
The EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo informed the trial judge, Justice Mojishola Olatoregun-Ishola that the accused persons committed the offence between 6th January, 2014 and 30th of May, 2015 in Lagos.
Oyedepo also stated that the offences are contrary to and punishable under Sections 15(1)(3)and 18(a) of Money Laundering Act, 2012.
However, all the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The lawyers appearing for the accused persons, Mohammed Chawar and Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN) urged the court to admit their clients to bail since they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Oyedepo did not oppose the bail application, but urge the court to impose condition that will compel them to attend their trial.
In her ruling, Justice Olatoregun-Ishola granted the accused persons bail in the sum of N5 million each with two sureties in like sum.
The judge also held that the sureties are to swear to an affidavit of means and to produce three years tax clearance, while the companies are to produce a N5 million bond.
She then fixed May 16 for the commencement of trial.
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