I Didn’t Get AGF’s Approval to Transfer Money from NIMASA’s Account, Akpobolokemi Tells Court

Former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Patrick Akpolobokemi, told a Federal High Court in Lagos, Friday, that he diverted the agency’s funds without the approval of the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF).
Akpobolokemi made this known while being cross-examined by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), through its lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo.
Akpobolokemi is standing trial on a 22 count-charge bordering on conspiracy, funds diversion, money laundering and fraud to the tune of N2.4bn.
Others charged alongside Akpobolokemi are: Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Blockz and Stonz Limited and Al-Kenzo Logistic Limited.
It would be recalled that the anti-graft agency had alleged that all the accused persons had between December 2014 and May 2015 diverted the sum of N2.6bn from the coffers of NIMASA.
The funds, according to the anti-graft agency, were approved by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan for the implementation of a security project, tagged, “International Ship and Ports Security Code in Nigeria Ports.”
But all the accused pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The EFCC closed its case and called 12 witnesses against the defendants, while tendering 77 exhibits to prove its allegations.
However, upon the closure of the prosecution’s case, instead of the the accused to open their defence, they elected to file a no-case-submission which had since been thrown out by Justice Buba.
The Judge went further to order them to open their defence.
At Friday’s proceedings, while being cross examined by Oyedepo as to whether he was allowed by Rule 701 of NIMASA’s Regulation to open and operate any bank account apart from Salaries, Overhead, and Revenue accounts without the approval of the AGF, Akpobolokemi answered by saying he was not permitted to do so.
Akpobolokemi also confirmed that he did not obtain the approval of the AGF before opening account with Access Bank and United Bank for Africa (UBA), for the International Ship and Ports Security Code in Nigeria Ports.
The former NIMASA DG equally revealed that he did not get the approval of the AGF before transferring the sum of N795.2m, N40bn, N44, N60, 080m, and N14m from ISPS account to NIMASA’s account, vis-a-vis, from Access bank, UBA, and Skye Bank.
Akpobolokemi however argued that the sum of N60.080m was done because it was under his agency’s threshold.
Justice Ibrahim Buba has adjourned until February 26 and 28, for continuation of prosecution’s cross-examination.

Author: News Editor

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