The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday arraigned a former acting head of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Haruna Jauro, and his brother in-law, Dauda Bistrus Bawa, for an alleged N295.6m fraud in the agency.
They were slammed with 19-count charge.
Jauro took over the leadership of NIMASA in acting capacity following the sacking of its former Director-General, Patrick Apkobolokemi now in court for multiple Fraud related Offences.
Jauro was arraigned on Tuesday before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun-Ishola of a Federal High Court, Lagos, along with one Dr. Bawa and a company, Thlumbau Enterprises Limited.
Jauro was arrested by the EFCC based on its findings during the investigation of his predecessor, Akpobolokemi.
In the course of investigation, it was discovered that the former Acting DG while being the Executive Director, Finance, of the agency, received N156,477,500 as gratification from Akpobolokemi to allow the former DG and his cohorts embezzle large sums of monies from the agency, EFCC said in a statement.
The said monies were traced to Jauro’s company account, Thlumbau Enterprises Limited, which his brother in-law, the second accused person oversees, it said.
Jauro is said to have refunded N35, 000,000, being part of the money he collected from Akpobolokemi to the Federal Government.
The defendants were accused of defrauding NIMASA to the tune of N295,618,500 between January 2014 and September 2015.
In the charge sheet presented in court by its prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, the EFCC accused Jauro, Bawa and Thlumbau Enterprises Limited of violating Section 15(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012, adding that they are liable to punishment under Section 15(3) of the same Act.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to all the counts, following which their counsel, M.I. Chawar, urged the court to grant them bail on liberal terms.
Oyedepo did not oppose the bail application.
In her ruling, Justice Olatoregun-Ishola admitted Jauro and Bawa to a N5m bail each with two sureties in like sum.
The Judge said the sureties must swear to affidavit of means and produce three years’ tax clearance, while Thlumbau Enterprises Limited was ordered to produce a N5m bond.
The case was adjourned till May 16 and 17, 2016 for trial.
In a related development, the EFCC also arraigned Alu Dismas, personal assistant to Patrick Akpobolokemi , Calistus Nwabueze, Executive Director, NIMASA and two companies: Grand Pact Limited and Global Seal Investment Limited, on eight count charge of stealing and Money Laundering before Justice Olantoregun.
Mr. Calistus as Executive Director, was said to have received the total sum of N136,105,000 (One Hundred and Thirty Six Million, One Hundred and Five Thousand Naira ) from Akpobolokemi.
The second accused person, Alu Dismas who was personal assistant to Akpobolokemi also received various sums of money.
One of the charge against them reads: “that you Calistus Nwabueze and Dismas Alu on or about 5th day of August 2014 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this honorable court did conspire among yourselves to commit an offense to wit: conversion of the sum of N111,000,000 (One Hundred and Eleven Million Naira ) property of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency knowing that the said sum were proceeds of stealing and thereby committed an offense contrary to section 18(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.”
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charge. And were admitted to bail in the sum of N5,000,000 (Five Million Naira Only) and two sureties in like sum. The case was adjourned to May 16 for trial.