A witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the ongoing trial of the former Director-General Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, and six others, Mrs. Olamide Odusanya, today, testified before an Igbosere High Court of Lagos State how the former NIMASA’s Director-General authorised the withdrawal of N498, 200, 000, million and disbursed same to some individuals from the agency’s account.
Odusanya, an Assistant Director of NIMASA, who was EFCC’s third witness in the ongoing trial of the former Director-General and six other accused persons, maintained that no financial transactions could be made without Akpobolokemi’s approval.
She also stated that Akpolobokemi was an ‘A’ signatory to NIMASA’s two bank accounts, one of which was with Access Bank.
Those arraigned before the court alongside Akpolobokemi in Charge marked LD/2181C/15, are Captain Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Vincent Udoye, Adegboyega Olopoenia and Gama Marine Nigeria Limited.
The accused persons were arraigned on January 25, 2016, but pleaded not guilty to the 13 counts pressed against them.
Odusanya while being led in examination-in-chief by prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo today, stated that she was also a signatory to the two accounts owned by NIMASA’s Committee of Voluntary International Maritime Organisation Member State Audit Scheme (VIMSAS).
But that stated that the agency’s Accounting Officer of the agency is the CEO/DG who approved all payment instructions.
The witness identified the first to sixth defendant as being former NIMASA officials, adding that the credit of N498,200,000 was paid on August 29, 2014.
Referring to Akpobolokemi, she said: “The D-G/CEO approved the payment. The approval is on the Electronic Payment Schedule. ‘Approved, please comply'”.
Odusanya also identified Captain Ezekiel Agaba, a former NIMASA Executive Director (Maritime Safety & Shipping Development) as the chairman of Committee of VIMSAS.
She listed how money was then disbursed into several accounts owned by different companies and individuals.
The witness testified that on September 16, 2014, a memo from the office of the second defendant, Captain Agaba, initiated the withdrawal of N3 million in favour of third defendant, Ekene Nwakuche.
She also stated that on September 29, there was a transfer of N1,400,000 million to Lakewood Gardens Ventures Limited, while N61,000,000 million was transferred to Kofa Fada Nigeria Limited, on October 30.
Odusanya also confirmed that N6 million was withdrawn in favour of Nwakuche in two tranches of N3m on November 28 and December 17.
In 2015, while Gama Marine Limited got N39,450,000 million on February 2. Adding that the Committee on Third Strategic Admiralty was paid N25 million.
“On May 20, 2016, N318,000,000 was into VIMSAS Committee Account. The sum was approved by the first defendant,” the witness said.
She added that the payment was made to a United Bank of Africa Plc’s account and identified all the NIMASA memos and documents authorising the transaction before same were admitted as exhibits by the court.
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