‘I didn’t know why NIMASA paid my company N72m’

16 February 2016, Lagos – A prosecution witness, Mr Emeka Emelano, Tuesday told the Federal High Court in Lagos that he did not ask why the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) paid his company N72million even though it did not bid for any contract.

Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi, ex-NIMASA DG

He claimed he also did not benefit from the payments, as he transferred the money to ‘others’ accounts as he was instructed.

Emenalo, sole proprietor of O2 Services Plus Nig. Ltd, had earlier testified during the ongoing trial of a former NIMASA Director-General Patrick Akpobolokemi that he was paid the sum for no contract.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) charged Akpobolokemi with converting N2.6billion and defrauding the Federal Government to the tune of N795.2million.

He was arraigned before Justice Ibrahim Buba along with Captain Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Blockz and Stonz Limited, Kenzo Logistics Limited and Al-Kenzo Logistic Limited.

In the 22-count charge, they were accused of converting N2,658,957,666 between December 23, 2013 and May 28 last year. The defendants pleaded not guilty.

The witness had testified that his company, which provides agro-allied services, got the money after his younger brother, Uche Emelano, sought to use his company to obtain a phantom contract from NIMASA.

He said his brother informed him that Nwakuche would facilitate the deal. According to the witness, his brother instructed him to transfer any money paid into his company’s account to other accounts as soon as he is alerted.

Emenalo said when he began to receive alerts, he informed his brother, who in turn informed the third accused.

During cross-examination Tuesday, Emenalo said he did not ask NIMASA why the money was paid into his account.

“I only called my brother Uche to notify him that NIMASA had paid the money into my account,” Emenalo said.

The witness said he made several withdrawals from the account, explaining there were other inflows during the period.

For instance, he said he transferred N700,000 to his sister Ijeoma, but denied personally benefiting from the deposits.

“No, the money is not meant for our family business. I only gave my sister Ijeoma some of it,” Emenalo said.

The witness said he was only doing his brother a favour when he agreed to allow his company’s account to be used for the payment from NIMASA.

The witness added that he was also unaware of the nature of the contract. “I did not benefit anything from these monies paid,” he said.

“I only requested that the sum of N300,000 be left in the account to offset bank transfer charges,” Emenalo said.

 

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