NIMASA Fraud: Akpolobokemi’s Aides changed N111m to Dollar through unlicensed Bureau De Change Operator
An unlicensed Bureau De Change operator, Mallam Sulaiman Oseni, on Monday, narrated before a Lagos Federal High Court, how he changed the sum of N111 million to United State of America Dollar for an official of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA.
Oseni, who was a witness to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the ongoing trial of of a former Executive Director of Maritime Labour & Cabotage Services of NIMASA, Barrister Callistus Nwabueze Obi and three other accused persons before the court.
Nwabueze is standing trial before the court alongside Dismass Alu Adoon, Grand Pact Limited and Global Sea Investment Limited on an eight count charge of conspiracy, converting and stealing the sum of N331 million belonging to NIMASA, in a charge marked FHC/L/148C/16.
At the resumed trial of the accused persons, Oseni informed the court that he charged the total sum of N111 million to America Dollar for the second accused person Dismass Alu Adoon, on three occasions.
He told the court that he first changed to Dollar the sum of N12 million, which he handed over to him at NIMASA’s office in Apapa.
He also informed the court that after the first transaction, the second accused in the charge, sent the sum of N49.5 million on two occasions which he equally changed to America Dollar, and handed over to the accused at ParkView, Ikoyi, Lagos.
He further informed the court that the said money were paid into his boss, Mallam Koloni Mohammed’s account, since his company was not licensed.
However, during the cross examination by the accused lawyer, Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN), the witness told the court that he had known the accused before the transactions.
He also informed the court that he handed over the exchanged money to the accused the same day that he transfered the money into the account of Koloni’s account, the submission which was contradicted by the lawyer the second accused.
Nwobike (SAN), had informed the court that the accused person was not in country on the date claimed by the witness.
The witness also informed the court that he did not know either did he meet the first accused person, Barrister Obi, in the matter, when being cross examined by Mr. Olawale Akoni (SAN).
Prior to the evidence of the unlicensed Bureau De Change operator, the EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, had earlier led-in-evidence another Bureau De Change operator, Mallan Koloni Muhammed, who informed the court that he changed a total sum of $350,000 USD for the accused persons through Oseni.
Mohammed informed the court that he never apply for any job neither did he do any job for NIMASA before the money was paid into his account. Adding that it was Mallam Oseni who collected his account details and gave it to the NIMASA officials who later paid in the money.
Also testified before the court at Monday’s trial of accused persons was a Marketer with Heritage Banks Plc, Mr. Saidu Yussuf, and a Compliant Officer with Access Bank Plc, Oliver Ewerem.
Yusuf had informed the court that the first accused person, Barrister Obi is the only signatory to Global Seal Investment Limited.
He also informed the court how the Global Seal account received from the NIMASA’s Committee of Intelligence the sum of N15 million, and how the money was transfered to different individuals’ accounts, including Bar. Obi.
Also, the Access Bank Plc Compliant Officer, Mr. Ewerem informed the court how the Global Seal Investment Limited, and Knight Sheriff Limited, received the sum of N15 million each from the account of NIMASA’s Committee on Intelligence Gathering.
He also informed the court how the sum of N15 million was transfered into the account of Grand Pack Limited, while the total sum of N111 million was transfered into the Kostal Mega Limited account with First Bank Plc, the account belonging to the Bureau De Change operator.
However, the witness during cross-examination by Akoni (SAN), the former Executive-Director, Bar. Obi is not a signatory to the Committee on Intelligence Gathering’s account.
The matter has been adjourned till today, for continuation of trial.
In a related matter, the trial of the former Acting Director-General of NIMASA, Haruna Jauro, and Dr Dauda Bistrus Bawa, alongside a Limited liability company, Thlumbau Enterprises Limited who were facing alleged offences of conspiracy and converting the sum of N314,418,000 property of NIMASA to personal use, has also been adjourned till today.
The accused persons’ trial which was slated for yesterday could not proceed due to non availability of legal representation to the accused persons.
Consequently, their trial has been adjourned till Tuesday.