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Court resumes trial of Akpobolokemi, Ex-NIMASA DG,  Others over alleged N8.5bn fraud

 Owolola Adebola

As the trial of Patrick Akpobolokemi and three others who were arraigned for alleged N8.5billion fraud, continued Tuesday before Justice Ayokunle Faaji of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) has called its seventh witness.

Akpobolokemi, a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA) is standing trial alongside Major-General Emmanuel Atewe (rtd.), a former Commander of the Joint Military Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield, and two other staff of the agency, Kime Engozu and Josphine Otuaga.
They are standing trial on an amended 22-count charge bordering on money laundering.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, Major General Emmanuel Atewe, Kime Engozu, and Josphine Otuaga sometimes in 2014, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Court, with intent to defraud, conspired amongst yourselves to commit an offence to wit: conversion of the sum of N8,537,586,798.58 property of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.”They had pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, thereby prompting the commencement of their trial.

At the resumed sitting Tuesday, November 16, 2021, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo , presented the seventh prosecution witness, (PW7), Moses Ngbekan, a compliance officer with Zenith Bank, Plc.

While being led in evidence by Oyedepo, the witness confirmed that the EFCC and Zenith Bank Plc had shared correspondences with respect to the case.

Ngbekan further identified some exhibits before the Court, including the account opening package, statements of account and the instruments of transaction used to perpetrate the alleged crime, stating that the documents emanated from Zenith Bank Plc.

The case has been adjourned till November 17, 2021, for the continuation of trial.

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Headlines

IGP grieves over assault on policewoman

Prof. Zainab Duke Abiola

 

— orders prosecution of culprits
 Owolola Adebola

The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba,  has strongly condemned the grievous assault of a female Police Officer, Inspector Teju Moses, by her principal who is a Legal practitioner and human rights activist, Prof. Zainab Duke Abiola and her domestic staff comprising the housemaid, one Rebecca Enechido and a male suspect currently at large.

Zainab Duke, a Mbaise-born activist, grievously assaulted her orderly in the company of some accomplices on Tuesday 20th September 2022 at her residence in Garki, Abuja, due to the refusal of the orderly to breach professional ethics by carrying out menial and domestic chores at her house.

The IGP also directed the express prosecution of the arrested suspects who are currently in Police custody, as the preliminary investigation shows overwhelming evidence of culpability on the part of the Professor and her domestic staff.

The IGP has equally tasked the investigative team to ensure that the fleeing suspect is arrested and made to face the wrath of the law.

It is pertinent to clarify that the suspect, Prof. Zainab, who name-drops the IGP, his family members, and other officers in the top hierarchy of the Force has no acquaintance with the Police in any form as erroneously peddled on social media.

The Inspector-General of Police who similarly ordered the withdrawal of all Police personnel attached to the Professor expressed consternation at the fact that an individual who claims to be an advocate for Human Rights could stoop so low as to violate the rights of another individual, a police officer tasked with ensuring her protection.

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Customs

Customs collects N1.7trn  revenue in 8 months

CGC, Ali

 

–embarks on aggressive revenue hunts to meet target

The Eyewitness reporter

The Nigeria Customs Service has collected a whooping sum of  N1,755,386,486,390.02  as revenue in the first eight months of the year spanning January and August.

The service made the highest monthly earnings of N241,903,781,854.46 in August as the service intensifies its aggressive revenue drive to meet the expectations of the Federal Government which has come to rely on the revenue from the service to fund its critical project.

This follows the diversification of government to non-oil sectors and expands its tax base due to the dwindling revenue from the oil sector.
The revenue in the first eight months of 2022 is N363,436,321,614.95 higher than N1,391,950,164,775.97 the customs collected in the corresponding period of 2021.

Abuja has increased its focus on non-oil revenue sources, prompting higher expectations from revenue collection agencies such as the NCS, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), among others.

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Headlines

Jamoh wears OFR diadem as Buhari confers national honour on NIMASA DG

 

The Eyewitness reporter 
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh, has expressed deep appreciation to President Mohammed Buhari for being conferred with one of the highest national honours in Nigeria, Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR).

The Office of the Honourable Minister, Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, has conveyed this good news to Dr Jamoh in a letter of Award which has slated the investiture ceremony for the International Conference Center (ICC), Abuja on Monday, 10th October 2022.

Recall that Dr. Jamoh had served the Nigerian maritime sector as an administrator for over 30 years when he was appointed by President Buhari as the NIMASA DG in March 2020.

Since that time, he has overseen the successful deployment of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure otherwise known as the Deep Blue Project which has played a major role in achieving a reduction of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea to its barest minimum since 1994 and culminating in Nigeria being removed from the infamous piracy red list by the International Maritime Bureau, IMB.

A hallmark of his tenure at the helm of NIMASA has been his institutionalization of collaboration among stakeholders, within and outside the country, to achieve significant milestones in the sector.

One notable example of this is his initiation of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum/ Shared Awareness and De-confliction (GOG-MCF/SHADE), which has demonstrated the positive outcomes of information sharing among regional and non-regional military forces in achieving a secure maritime space.

Reacting to the news on his social media handle, Dr Jamoh expressed gratitude for being considered for the honour stating:

“Words cannot express how humbled I feel to be so considered for the National Honour as an Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR).

“When I began my maritime journey 30 years ago, little did I know that Almighty Allah would so favour me to rise to the position of NIMASA DG, let alone to be considered for one of the highest honours in the land”.

Dr Jamoh especially thanked His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, and the Standing Committee on National Honours Award for deeming him worthy of the honour while also appreciating everyone who had supported him throughout his tenure as NIMASA Director General, especially the maritime stakeholders.

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