A witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the ongoing trial of the immediate past Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, and six others, Mrs. Olamide Odusanya, today, insisted that the former D-G approved the payment of N498,200,000 million and N318,000,000 million which were parts alleged looted at the agency.
Odusanya, an Assistant Director in the Financial Services Department of NIMASA, reaffirmed this while testified before Justice Raliat Adebiyi led-court, saying that the said monies were not retired by Dr. Akpolobokemi.
The EFCC witness affirmed that the N498.2m was approved for the implementation of the Voluntary International Maritime Organisation Member State Audit Scheme (VIMSAS) project by NIMASA in 2014.
In Charge No. LD/2181C/15, Akpobolokemi and six others are alleged to have diverted N754,740,680 meant for the implementation of Voluntary International Maritime Organisation Member State Audit Scheme at NIMASA.
The others are Captain Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Amechee Juan, Vincent Udoye, Captain Adegboyega Sahib Olopoenia and a company, Gama Marine Nigeria Limited.
Odusanya who was led in Examination-in-Chief by the EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, stated that by a letter written to the office of the former National Security Adviser (NSA) to the former President Goodluck Jonathan, dated April 15, 2015, Akpobolokemi obtained approval for the N498.2m from the Presidency.
She affirmed that the process was repeated for the N318m and that both funds were released “in preparation for the implementation of the VIMSAS project.
However, Odusanya while being cross examine by Akpolobokemi’s counsel, Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN) admitted that she was not a member of VIMSAS Committee, and neither was she aware of how NIMASA negotiated with contractors, nor the process leading to payments made by the Committee.
Odusanya further stated that, on the face of documents presented to her, Akpobolokemi, acted “in lawful exercise of his duties as Chief Accounting Officer” when he directed the second defendant, Captain Agaba, to disburse the funds.
She further admitted under questioning by Agaba’s counsel, E.D. Onyeke, that the NIMASA Financial Services Department received a memo written to clarify that the expenditure of N498.2m and N318m “were security related and did not require retiring.” Adding that she could not tell if the projects for which the funds were approved were implemented.
Justice Adebiyi adjourned till tomorrow for continuation of trial