A Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja was Tuesday told of how Patrick Akpobolokemi, the former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and his co-defendants allegedly forged some documents to pay N754m to a company, Arrow World, that never executed contract for the agency.
An investigating officer with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Chukwuma Orji, who was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, explained that Akpobolokemi and co-defendants forged documents to obtain the money.
Akpobolokemi alongside Ezekiel Agaba, a former Executive Director at NIMASA, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Vincent Udoye, Adegboyega Olopoenia, and a company, Gama Marine Nigeria Ltd, are standing trial on 13-count charge bordering on theft.
At the Tuesday’s proceedings, Orji revealed before Justice Raliat Adebiyi, the trial Judge, that official documents of Arrow World Consulting firm were forged, noting that the real owner of the consulting company had previously unsuccessfully bid for a NIMASA contract.
The defendants, the investigator alleged, used the company’s name to facilitate the NIMASA fraud.
“The real company address of Arrow World Consulting is at 1004 Housing Estate but in the forged document the company address was Plot 6, Kudirat Abiola Way, Ikeja, Lagos.
“The account of Arrow World Consulting was opened in Zenith Bank using forged documents; the account number is 1014150798.
“N257m was transferred into the account of Arrow World from the VIMSAT Committee account of NIMASA.
“The funds were paid into the account in conspiracy with Akpobolokemi, the Director-General, and Agaba, the Executive Director of NIMASA.
“My Lord, Arrow World never carried out any consultation services for NIMASA and all this money was paid into the account which was run by Nwakuche and Juan in connivance with Agaba.
“There is a NIMASA memo dated May 5, 2015 signed by Agaba authorising the payment of the N257m into the account, the instructions were given to the Bar Beach branch of Zenith Bank.
“The documents, including a letter to Arrow World’s address at Plot 6 Kudirat Abiola Way, Ikeja, Lagos signed on behalf of Agaba by Juan, were all forged
“N92m was paid from the VIMSAT Committee account to the Arrow World account for publicity, boats and cranes, Arrow World never executed any of these contracts.
“On June 17, 2015, an instruction to Zenith Bank was given to transfer N70m from the account of Arrow World into the account of Philip Emesike whom Nwakuche was impersonating.
“N72m was also transferred into the account of Cradles Oil and Gas Limited for one Udoh Emakop whom Juan was impersonating.
“Both men converted the money to their private use,” Orji said.