Tuesday, October 18, 2016 8:09 pm
By Akin Kuponiyi
A prosecution witness, Teslim Ajuwon, today , told a Federal Federal High Court in Lagos, south west Nigeria how the sum of N8.5 billion was transferred from the accounts of Nigerian Maritime Safety and administration Agency (NIMASA) into the account of the joint Task Force (JTF) ‘Operation Puelo Shield, headed by Major-General Emmanuel Atewe.
Ajuwon, gave this evidence at the commencement of trial of a former Commander of the Military JTF in the Niger Delta, Major-General Atewe, alongside a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, Kime Engozu and Josephine Otuaga
Atewe is charged alongside a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, Kime Engozu and Josephine Otuaga over N8.5 billion fraud.
They are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on 11 counts charge of money laundering.
The prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, led the witness (PW1) in evidence-in-chief, who narrated how NIMASA under Akpolobokemi’s leadership made cash in-flow to the tune of N8.5 billion into the account of the Joint Task Force, Operation Puelo Shield.
The witness also told the court that between September 5, and September 16, 2014 a total of N1.8 billion was moved from the said account, into the accounts six different companies namely Jaggan Limited, Paper House service Limited, East Point Services Limited and Al-Nald Limited.
“On September 3, 2014, there was a Nigeria Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT) of the sum of N2.4 billion to the account of Joint Tax force, ‘Operation Puelo Shield’, and this was from NIMASA’s account.
“On October 30, 2014, there was another transfer of the sum of N2.4 billion by NIMASA, into the same account of the Joint Task Force; on April, 30, 2015, there was also a transfer of N1 billion from NIMASA into the same account.
“Again, on May 11, 2015, there was a transfer by NIMASA, of the sum of N1.7 billion into the same JTF’s account, while the following day May 12, 2015, there was another transfer of N1 billion by NIMASA into same account,”
According to the witness, these amounts represented the in-flow of cash into the account of the Joint task force, between September 3, 2014 and May 12, 2015, by NIMASA.
The prosecutor then asked the witness to also explain to the court the various transactions involving monies going out of the said account between Sept. 5 and Sept. 16, 2014.
Again, the witness recounted:
“On September 5, there were several transactions involving monies going out of the account of the joint task force.
“First, there was a withdrawal of the sum of N100 million which was transferred to one Jaggan Limited with Diamond bank; a second transfer of N100 million was made again to Jaggan Ltd, and N100 million transferred to paper house Limited.
“The sum of N100 million was also transferred to Paper house Limited, and another N200 million transferred to East point services Limited, N100 million transferred to Al-nald Ltd, while the sum of N50 million was again transferred to Jaggan Limited.”
Giving a break down of the transactions carried out from the said Joint task force account on Sept. 9, 2014, the witness told the court that a cumulative transfer of N150 million was made to Jaggan Limited.
He stated that N100 million was transferred to paper house Ltd, N100 million transferred to Al-nald Limited, and N150 million transferred to East point services Limited.
On the break down of transactions carried out on September 10, 2014, the witness informed the court that a total of N150 million was transferred to Jaggan Limited, while the sum of N150 million was transferred to East point integrated services Limited.
On the break down of transaction executed on September 16, 2014, the witness explained that there was a transfer of about N150. 5 million to Jaggan Limited, and a transfer of N68.2 million to Denew Link Integrated Services Limited.
While there was also another transfer of N150 million and N100 million respectively, to Eastpoint Integrated Services Limited.
After the witness’ testimony, the prosecutor told the court that this was convenient spot for the witness to stop for the day, in other to also allow other lawyers in the court to have their cases heard.
Consequently, Justice Saliu Saidu, adjourned the case to October 19, tomorrow for continuation of trial.
In the charge, the anti-graft agency alleged that the accused conspired to defraud NIMASA of N8.5 billion using six companies.
The companies are: Jagan Ltd; Jagan Trading Company Ltd; Jagan Global Services Ltd; Al-Nald Ltd; Paper Warehouse Ltd; Eastpoint Integrated Services Ltd and De-Newlink Integrated Services Ltd.
The EFCC claimed that the accused committed the alleged fraud between Sept. 5, 2014 and May 20, 2015. All pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The offences according to the EFCC are contrary to the provisions of Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012, and Section 390 of the Criminal Code Act Cap C. 38, Laws of the Federation, 2004.