Alleged N2.6bn Fraud: Ex-NIMASA Boss, Akpolobokemi Admits Diverting NIMASA’s Funds

The embattled former Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Patrick Ziadeke Akpolobokemi, on Friday, admitted diverting the agency’s funds without the approval of the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF).

Dr. Akpolobokemi made the statement before a Federal High Court, Lagos, while being cross-examine by the lawyer to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, in his trial over alleged N2.4. billion fraud and money laundering.

The former NIMASA Director-General is being tried before the Court, presided over by Justice Ibrahim Buba, by the EFCC on a 22 count-charge bordering on conspiracy, funds diversion, money laundering and fraud.

Others charged before the court alongside Akpobolokemi are: Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Blockz and Stonz Limited and Al-Kenzo Logistic Limited.

The EFCC, had alleged that all the accused persons had between December 2014and May 2015 diverted the sum of N2.6bn from the coffers of NIMASA.

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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.”

Though, all the accused have all pleaded not guilty to the 22 counts charges.

This made the EFCC to opened it’s case and called a total of 12 witnesses and tendered about 77 exhibits in a bid to prove the allegations.

Upon the closure of the prosecution’s case, however, rather than for the accused to open their defence, filed no-case-submission, which had been dismissed by the presiding judge, Justice Buba.

Upon dismissing the accused no-case-submission, the judge had ordered them to open their defence.

However, the the resumed hearing of the matter on Friday, Akpolobokemi while being asked by the EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, if he is permitted by the Rule 701 of NIMASA’s Regulation, to open and operates any bank account apart from Salaries, Overhead, and Revenues accounts without AGF’s approval, said he was not permitted to do so.

When further probed if he sought 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, he replied that he did not obtained AGF’s approval before the two accounts were opened.

Specifically, when asked if he obtained the AGF’s approval before transferring the sum of N795.2 million, N1. 123, 400 billion, N447 million, N60, 080 million, and N14 million from ISPS account to NIMASA’s account, vis-a-vis, from Access bank, UBA, and Skye bank.

Akpolobokemi responded that he did not sought for AGF’s approval before the transaction was done.

But stated that that the sum of N60,080 million was done because it was under his agency’s threshold.

The matter has been adjourned till February 26 and 28, for continuation of prosecution’s cross-examination.

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