Margaret Ekong, a witness in the trial of the former Director-General of the Nigeria Maritime and Administration Agency (NIMASA) Patrick Akpobolokemi, has testified before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.
She told Justice Ayokunle Faji on Tuesday that the defendant and his management team spent the agency’s N18 million meant for intelligence gathering on massage chairs for themselves.
Ekon further explained that she had supplied three chairs to Akpobolokemi and he took delivery of them.
According to her, he took one to his house in Banana Island, another to his mother’s house and the last one to his house in Delta State.
The witness also testified that the second defendant in the case, Captain Bala Agaba, took two chairs as well.
Agaba, who was at the NIMASA Directorate of Intelligence Gathering at the time, is serving a seven-year jail term in relation to another charge bordering on breach of trust.
Led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, Ekong reiterated that she submitted two companies’ names for the contract as requested by the then-NIMASA management.
The chairs, according to her, were supplied in 2013 and payment was made in 2014 after series of reminders.
When Oyedepo asked the witness where she got payment for the chairs from, Ekong replied that it was from NIMASA adding that funds voted for intelligence gathering was used to pay for them.
A ninth prosecution witness, Ekene Nwakuche, in his testimony also claimed that all transactions be it cash transfer or withdrawal were his responsibility.
Nwakuche said he joined NIMASA in 2013 and was seconded as a Personal Assistant to Agaba.
He told the court that the Access Bank branch on the ground floor of the NIMASA building in Apapa was the one the agency used for transactions.
Part of the counts against Akpobolokemi read: “that you, Patrick Akpobolokemi and Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba on or about the 10th of July 2014, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Court converted the sum of N86 million, property of NIMASA which you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: criminal breach of trust and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15 (2)(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.
“That you, Patrick Akpobolokemi and Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba, on or about the 10th of July, 2014, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this court converted the sum of N18,080,000, property of NIMASA through Kachos Niger 4 Limited, which you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: criminal breach of trust and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15 (2)(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 19 of the same Act”.
Justice Faji thereafter adjourned the case till November 29, 30, and December 1, for the continuation of trial.