Following his alleged involvement in the missing N3.4 billion, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday arraigned a former Director-General of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi.
He was arraigned with nine others, including two companies, before Justice Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court in Lagos.
They were accused of conspiring to convert N3.4 billion belonging to NIMASA.
The commission said the money “was derived from stealing”.
EFCC said the alleged offence contravened Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition/Amendment) Act of 2012 and punishable under Section 15 (3).
The others are Captain Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Felix Bob-Nabena, Captain Warredi Enisuoh, Governor Juan, Ugo Fredrick, Timi Alari and two companies Al-Kenzo Limited and Peniel Engineering Services Limited.
According to the November 20 charge, signed by Festus Keyamo and Rotimi Iseoluwa, the accused persons converted the money between December 2013 and July 15 this year.
In count one, the defendants allegedly “conspired among themselves to commit an offence, to wit: conversion of N1,151,214,000.00, property of NIMASA, money derived from stealing…”
EFCC said on December 23, 2013, the defendants allegedly converted N861.5 million. On July 7 and 15 this year, they allegedly converted N235.4 million.
Akpobolokemi, Agaba, Nwakuche and Al-Kenzo were accused of converting N60 million, which they “derived from stealing.”
On December 24, 2013, Akpobolokemi, Agaba, Alari, Bob-Nabena, and Grace Subai, said to be at large, allegedly converted N20 million, property of NIMASA.
Akpobolokemi, Agaba, Enisuoh, Fredrick and Peniel Engineering were accused of converting N138.5 million on January 3, 2014 and on March 27, 2014.
Akpobolokemi, Agaba, Juan and Nwakuche allegedly converted N65 million on July 10, 2014; as well as N86 million and N80 million on the same day.
On May 28, last year, they allegedly converted N65 million, and on December 19, last year, they were accused of converting N65 million.
Between July 7 and December 14, 2014, EFCC said they converted N261.3 million, among other amounts in the 30-count , all of which amounted to N3,407,629,000.
They pleaded not guilty to all counts.
After taking their pleas, Akpobolokemi’s lawyer Dr Joseph Nwobike (SAN) and other defence counsel said they had bail applications.
Nwobike urged the court to grant his clients bail in liberal terms.
Justice Saidu granted Akpobolokemi bail for N100 million with two sureties in like sum.
One of the sureties must be his relative and must own a landed property in the highbrow Lekki, Ikoyi or Victoria Island, the judge ruled.
The second surety must be a senior civil servant not below the level of director at the federal or state level.
The other defendants were granted bail in the sum of N50 million each, with two sureties.
One of the sureties, Justice Saidu said, must also be a relative and must own landed property in Lagos, while the other must be a civil servant not below Grade Level 16.
The judge directed the defendants to surrender their international passports. The sureties’ addresses must be verified by the court’s deputy chief registrar, the judge added.
Justice Saidu ordered that the defendants be remanded in prison custody pending the perfection of their bail conditions.
He adjourned to January 29 for trial.