EFCC re-arraigns Akpobolokemi,ex-JTF commander, for N8.5bn fraud

Chidi Samuel

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday re-arraigned Patrick Akpobolokemi, ex- director-general, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), and former Joint Task Force (JTF) Commander Maj. Gen Emmanuel Atewe  for alleged money laundering.
The duo were accused of converting N8.5 billion from NIMASA for their personal use.
Akpobolokemi and Atewe were re-arraigned with Kime Engozu and Josephine Otuaga before Justice Saliu Saidu on 22-count of money laundering.
The offence was allegedly committed in 2014.
EFCC said the defendants converted the money through various companies, such as Jagan Trading Company Ltd, Jagan Global Services Ltd, Al-Nald Ltd, Paper Warehouse Ltd, Eastpoint Integrated Services Ltd and De-Newlink Integrated Services Ltd.
They allegedly converted N1.8 billion on September 5, 2014, N2 billion on May 20, 2015, and other amounts, using the companies.
The prosecution alleged that Atewe indirectly used N170.3 million belonging to JTF Operation Pulo Shield to acquire 30,000 units of shares, titled: “MTN Linked Units”, “an amount he reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of stealing”.
The former JTF commander was alleged to have also acquired property measuring 50 hectares at Kuje and another 13.032.10 square metres at Kubwa, both in Abuja.
He also allegedly used JTF’s N763.3million to acquire property in Plot MF62 outer Northern Expressway, Cadastral Zone in Abuja, in the name of his company, E.J-Joe Ltd, as well as others in Lugbe, Kuje, between 2014 and last year.
Engozu and Otuaga were said to have received cash exceeding the amount authorised by law without going through a financial institution.
According to EFCC, Engozu received $22.5 million on November 7, 2014; Otuaga received $527,500 on October 31.
The alleged offence contravenes Section 18(c) of the Money Laundering Act 2012 and punishable under Section 13(3).
The defendants pleaded not guilty.
A prosecution witness, Adamu Usman, who is an EFCC operative, testified that the N8.5 billion was allegedly transferred from NIMASA to JTF, from where it was moved to various companies and laundered by the accused.
The presiding Judge,Justice Saliu Saidu adjourned further hearinf of the case to February 3 and 20, 2017.

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