Major General Emmanuel Atewe, a former Commander of Guards Brigade and Commander of the Joint Military Task Force, OPERATION PULO SHIELD, and two others, were Friday arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on a 11-count charge bordering on conspiracy, abuse of office and money laundering.
The were arraigned before Justice Saliu Saidu of a Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Atewe is currently serving with the army’s Training and Doctrine Command in Minna, Niger State.
Atewe was charged alongside a former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi; Kime Engozu and Josephine Otuaga.
The accused persons allegedly conspired among themselves to divert over N8billion paid into the account of the Joint Military Task Force by NIMASA during the tenure of Akpobolokemi,” a statement by EFCC’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said.
The statement said the money was converted into US Dollars and the proceeds shared by the defendants.
According to the statement by the EFCC, “Specifically, payments to the tune of N8, 537,586,798.58 were allegedly made to the JTF’s account with a new generation bank by NIMASA. A substantial part of the money, about N6, 038,350,741 was converted into United States Dollars by Atewe and Akpobolokemi, through various Bureau De Change operators, and handed over to Enzogu and Otuaga who were business partners to Akpobokelemi and thereafter shared by the defendants.
“Part of the money was allegedly used in the acquisition of choice properties in Port Harcourt and Abuja, as well as shares in blue chip company”
One of the charges read, “That you Mr. Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, Major General Emmanuel Atewe, Kime Engozu and Josphine Otuaga, sometime in 2014, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this court with intent to defraud, conspired amongst yourselves to commit an offence to wit; conversion of the sum of N8,537,586,798.58 (Eight billion, five hundred and thirty seven million, five hundred and eighty six thousand, seven hundred and ninety eight Naira, fifty eight kobo), property of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition)(Amendment)Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act’’ .
All the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges.