A prosecution witness, Teslim Ajuwon, yesterday told a Federal High Court in Lagos that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) under a former Director-General, Patrick Akpobolokemi, transferred a whopping sum of N8.5 billion into the account of the military Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Puelo Shield in the Niger Delta.
Ajuwon, a compliance officer with a new generation bank, gave this evidence at the commencement of trial of the former Commander of the JTF, Maj-Gen. Emmanuel Atewe.
Atewe was charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside Akpobolokemi, Kime Engozu and Josephine Otuaga over a N8.5 billion fraud.
The anti-graft agency filed an 11-count charge against the accused persons.
When the case was called yesterday, the prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, led his first witness (PW1) in evidence-in-chief.
The witness narrated that on the whole, NIMASA made an in-flow of cash to the tune of N8.5 billion into the account of the JTF.
He also informed the court that between September 5, and 16, 2014, a total of N1.8 billion was moved from the said account into the accounts of Jaggan Limited, Paper House Service Ltd, East Point Services Ltd and Al-nald Ltd.
Oyedepo posed the question to him: “Please tell this court the various transactions that transpired on September 3, 2014.”
The witness began:
“On September 3, 2014, there was a Nigeria Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT) of the sum of N2.4 billion to the account of JTF, Operation Puelo Shield, and this was from NIMASA.
“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 account of the Joint Task Force, 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 JTF 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 September 5 and September 16, 2014.