(Lukman Olabiyi, ABUJA)
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Monday called its first witness in the ongoing trial of the former Niger Delta militant, Government Oweize Ekemupolo ( Tompolo) and others over alleged fraud of N47,683,464,822.
Tompolo and others were recently docked in absentia before the Federal High Court in Lagos on a 22-count charge bordering on fraud, conversation of money and forgery.
Also arraigned in absentia were siblings of the immediate past Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Patrick Ziadeke Akpolobokemi, who was also arraigned before the court.
The Akpolobokemi’s siblings were: Igo Akpolobokemi, Julius, Stephen, Victor, Norbert, Emmanuel Ebizimo, and Clement.
While those arraigned alongside the former NIMASA Director-General were: Kime Engozu, Josephine Otuaga, Rita Uruakpa and seven limited liability companies which include Mieka Dive Training Institute LTD/GTE, Oyeinteke Global Network Limited, Wabod Global Resources Limited, Boloboere Properties Estate Limited, Gokaid Marine and Oil and Gas Limited, Muhaabix Global Service Limited and Watershed Associated Resources.
The EFCC in charge number FHC/L/C/31c/2016, alleged that the accused persons had in sometime 2014, within the jurisdiction of the court with an intend to defraud, conspired among themselves and obtained the total sum of N47,683,464,822 from the federal government.
The witness, Hammed Muhammed Ghali who is the Investigation Police (IPO) in the charge and also an operative of the commission gave graphic detail of how the fraud was per prated in the agency (NIMASA).
He told the court presided by Justice Ibrahim Buba of how the commission carried out it investigation and obtained various documents which allegedly indicted the accused.
Led in evidence by EFCC’s counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, Ghali told the court that in 2011, Global West Vessel Specialist Ltd (GWVSL) proposed a strategic joint venture partnership with NIMASA, by providing: platforms for effective patrols, electronic surveillance and data, among others.
And on April 3, 2012 the agency and GWVSL entered into a Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement.
The witness informed the court that Akpobolokemi allegedly used the partnership to defraud the agency, noted that all the agreement were allegedly uttered by the accused in order to perpetrated the fraud.
Meanwhile, at the resumed trail of Akpobolokemi and five others before the court, an EFCC witness, Orji Chukwuma affirmed none of the accused facing trial gave statement to commission on duress.
Akpobolokemi and five others are standing trial for allegedly defrauding NIMASA to the tune of N2.6billion between March and June 2014.
He was arraigned along Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Blockz and Stonz Limited and Al-Kenzo Logistics Limited before Justice Ibrahim Buba on December 4, 2015.
Further hearing has been adjourned till Friday.