A prosecution witness, Teslim Ajuwon on Tuesday, told a Federal High Court Lagos, how the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) laundered the sum of N8.5 billion through the joint Task Force Operation Puelo Shield.
Ajuwon, gave this evidence at the commencement of trial of a former Commander of the Military Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta, Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Atewe.
Atewe is charged alongside a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency–NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi, Kime Engozu and Josephine Otuaga over N8.5 billion fraud.
They are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on 11 counts bordering on the offence.
When the case was called, the prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, led his first witness (PW1) in evidence-in-chief.
The witness narrated that on the whole, NIMASA made an in-flow of cash to the tune of N8.5 billion into the account of the Joint Task Force, Operation Puelo Shield.
He also informed the court that between Sept. 5, and Sept. 16, 2014 a total of N1.8 billion was moved from the said account, into the accounts of Jaggan Ltd, Paper house service Ltd, East point services Ltd and Al-nald Ltd.
The witness stated that “On Sept. 3, 2014, there was a Nigeria Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT) of the sum of N2.4 billion to the account of Joint Tax force, Operation Puelo Shield, and this was from NIMASA.
“On Oct. 30, 2014, there was another transfer of the sum of N2.4 billion by NIMASA, into the same account of the Joint Task Force; on April, 30, 2015, there was also a transfer of N1 billion from NIMASA into the same account.
According to the witness, these amounts represented the in-flow of cash into the account of the Joint task force, between Sept. 3, 2014 and May 12, 2015, by NIMASA.
The prosecutor then asked the witness to also explain to the court the various transactions involving monies going out of the said account between Sept. 5 and Sept. 16, 2014.
“On Sept. 5, there were several transactions involving monies going out of the account of the joint task force.
“First, there was a withdrawal of the sum of N100 million which was transferred to one Jaggan Ltd with Diamond bank; a second transfer of N100 million was made again to Jaggan Ltd, and N100 million transferred to paper house Ltd.
“The sum of N100 million was also transferred to Paper house Ltd, another N200 million transferred to East point services Ltd, N100 million transferred to Al-nald Ltd, while the sum of N50 million was again transferred to Jaggan Ltd,”
Giving a breakdown of the transactions carried out from the said Joint task force account on Sept. 9, 2014, the witness told the court that a culmulative transfer of N150 million was made to Jaggan Ltd.
He stated that N100 million was transferred to paper house Ltd, N100 million transferred to Al-nald Ltd, and N150 million transferred to East point services Ltd.
On the breakdown of transactions carried out on Sept. 10, 2014, the witness told the court that a total of N150 million was transferred to Jaggan Ltd, while the sum of N150 million was transferred to East point integrated services Ltd.
On the breakdown of transaction executed on Sept. 16, 2014, the witness explained that there was a transfer of about N150. 5 million to Jaggan Ltd, and a transfer of N68.2 million to De new link integrated services Ltd.
He said that there was also a transfer of N150 million and N100 million respectively, to East point integrated services Ltd.
After the witness’ testimony, the prosecutor told the court that this was convenient spot to stop the witness’ testimony for the day, in other to also allow his colleagues have their cases heard.
Consequently, Justice Saliu Saidu, adjourned the case to Oct. 19, for continuation of trial.
In the charge, the anti-graft agency alleged that the accused conspired to defraud NIMASA of N8.5 billion using six companies.
The companies are: Jagan Ltd; Jagan Trading Company Ltd; Jagan Global Services Ltd; Al-Nald Ltd; Paper Warehouse Ltd; Eastpoint Integrated Services Ltd and De-Newlink Integrated Services Ltd.