EFCC Arraign Tompolo In Absentia

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday, arraigned in absentia, former Niger Delta militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo (alias Tompolo) before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.
This came as a prosecution witness in ongoing trial of Patrick Akpobolokemi, former -Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Orji Aosihiuwu, an operative of EFCC, narrated to a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, how N1 billion allegedly looted from the agency was shared. Tompolo was arraigned alongside six brothers of a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi. They are: Igo Akpobolokemi, Julius Akpobolokemi, Victor Akpobolokemi, Norbert Akpobolokemi, Emmanuel Akpobolokemi and Clement Akpobolokemi. They were arraigned on a 22-count charge bordering on N47 billion fraud. They were however, declared as being “now at large” when the charges were read. Meanwhile, Akpobolokemi was also arraigned alongside three others, Josephine Otuaga, Rita Uruakpa and Kime Engozu. The charges bordered on conspiracy, advanced fee fraud and money laundering. All accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges. The judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba, however, admitted the accused persons to bail. The judge allowed Akpobolokemi, who had earlier been arraigned before him, to continue with a N50 million bail earlier granted him on March 22. In the charge, the EFCC alleged that the accused persons conspired to defraud the Federal Government between December 2, 2014 and April 10, 2015. The prosecution alleged that the accused falsely declared that a parcel of land and its appurtenances situated at Mieka Dive Training Institute in Warri, had been acquired by NIMASA. The land was said to be for construction of the temporary campus of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, the declarations of which were said to be false. The EFCC also alleged that sometime in 2014, the accused fraudulently converted the sum of N13 billion belonging to NIMASA for private use. Meanwhile, a prosecution witness in ongoing trial of Patrick Akpobolokemi, former -Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Orji Aosihiuwu, an operative of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, yesterday, narrated to a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, how N1bilion allegedly looted from the agency was shared. The witness, who is in the Special Taskforce Unit, STU of EFCC, identified all the defendants and gave account of the role played by each defendant in the N2. 6 billion scam. The case is before Justice Ibrahim Buba. The accused persons are standing trial for allegedly converting N2.6 billion between December 23, 2013 and May 28 last year, to which they pleaded not guilty. The witness said on October 2, 2013, Akpobolokemi wrote letter to the then President Goodluck Jonathan through the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), to release the sum of N1,123bn for the implementation of International Ships and Port facility Security, ISPS, project. And on November 4, 2013, the money was released by the Federal Government for the project, it was transferred to NIMASA and it was later transferred to account of ISPS committee opened at Access Bank and the signatories to that account was Agaba who took orders from Akpobolokemi. The witness said that out of N1.123 bilion released for the project, N1b was converted by the accused and their accomplices to their personal use. He said the fund was shared among six companies; Seabulk Offshore Operator Ltd- N437.7m, Ace Prothesis Ltd-N66.8milion, Extreme Vertex Nig Ltd- N21.8m, O2 Services Plus Ltd- N14.2m, Southern Offshore Ltd- N402.4m, Caniz Ltd-N12.2 million. While the sum of N 45million was withdrawn from the ISPS account by the accused. Further hearing in the matter has been adjourned till April 29.

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Dash is an author at www.gistus.com.
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