- More revelations are coming out in the alleged fraud case against the former management of NIMASA
- A witness has told a court sitting in Lagos how top management of the agency in the past, used budgeted funds for personal use
- According to the witness, the directors purchased massage chairs with monies that ought to have been drafted for intelligence-gathering
Lagos - A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday, October 12 heard that a former Director-General of the Nigeria Maritime and Administration Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, and his management team spent N18 million on massage chairs for themselves.
The Nation newspaper reports that the prosecution witness, Mrs. Margaret Ekong, told Justice Ayokunle Faji that the funds used to purchase the items were meant for intelligence gathering.
According to her, he took delivery of three chairs allotted to him, while one was sent to his house on Banana Island, Lagos; one to his mother’s house, and the last one to his house in Delta state.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) witness said the second defendant in the case, Captain Bala Agaba, took two chairs, while some other persons took possession of theirs.
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Led in evidence by EFCC counsel, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, Mrs. Ekong retreated that she submitted two companies’ names for the contract, as requested by the then NIMASA management.
When Oyedepo asked the witness where she got payment for the chairs from, she said it was from NIMASA.
Justice Faji adjourned till November 29, 30, and December 1, for a continuation of the trial.
The Nigerian Tribune newspaper had earlier reported that the EFCC recently presented more witnesses against the former NIMASA management in the ongoing trial.
According to the report, more evidence has been presented to the court against Akpobolokemi by the anti-graft commission.
How Court of Appeal acquitted ex-NIMASA DG Akpobolokemi in 2018
Akpobolokemi who was charged with an alleged fraud of N2.6 billion was discharged and acquitted by the Lagos division of the Court of Appeal in June 2018.
A three-man appellate court panel led by Justice Yargatta Nimpar upheld the no-case submission filed by the ex-DG in response to the criminal charges against him.
The EFCC had on December 4, 2015, arraigned Akpobolokemi with five others for alleged diversion of N2.6 billion from the coffers of NIMASA between December 2013 and May 2015.
New NIMASA boss dismisses fraud allegations against him
Meanwhile, the new NIMASA boss, Mr Bashir Jamoh, has asked the EFCC to investigate an allegation of N1.5trillion fraud levelled against him by one Jackson Ude.
Ude, a Nigerian journalist based in the US, had on Saturday, May 22 tweeted that N1.5trillion was traced to Jamoh in a new generation bank.
However, on Tuesday, May 25, Jamoh sent a letter to the chairman of the EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, urging the anti-graft agency to probe the allegations against him.