Alleged N304.1m Fraud: More trouble for ex-NIMASA DG as court admits more evidence
Justice Tijani Ringim of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Tuesday, March 14, 2023, admitted in evidence several documents tendered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), against a former acting Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Haruna Baba Jauro, and two others.
Jauro alongside Dr. Dauda Bitrus Bawa and a company, Thlumbau Enterprises Limited, is being prosecuted on a 19-count charge bordering on stealing and money laundering to the tune of N304, 118, 500( Three Hundred and Four Million One Hundred and Eighteen Thousand Five Hundred Naira).
At the resumed sitting, the prosecution presented its third prosecution witness, PW3, Orji Chukwuma, an investigator with the Commission.
Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, Chukwuma, of the Chairman Monitoring Unit, EFCC, Abuja, told the court that he was Head, of Special Task Force Unit 3, Lagos Zonal Command, at the time of the investigation of the alleged fraud.
When asked if he knew the defendants and the company, Thlumbau Enterprises Limited, the PW3, whose team was tasked with investigating money laundering and other financial crimes, stated that he came across all the defendants in the course of his investigation, upon receipt of intelligence reports against the management of NIMASA.
“Further investigation revealed that proceeds of unlawful activities of the 1st defendant, while he was the Executive Director of Finance and Administration in NIMASA, was concealed and laundered for his benefit through the 3rd defendant.
In his further testimony, Chukwuma told the court that funds co-mingled with loans taken from Aso Savings Limited to also acquire two other houses in Lagos.
He also stated that the names mentioned are children and relations of the 1st defendant and that their addresses are the same as his.
They were all admitted and marked as exhibits B, B1 and B2 by the court. During the proceedings, the prosecution counsel also asked the witness if there was an exchange of correspondence regarding the Aso Savings loans he earlier talked about, to which he answered in the affirmative, adding that it contained the mandate, statement of account, certificate of identification and mortgage correspondence of the first defendant.
While giving further testimony about exhibit A and some entries made on January 6,,2014, Chukwuma explained that there was an inflow of N15m ( Fifteen Million Naira) that came from the Committee of Intelligence belonging to NIMASA.
He said: “The Committee is set up and funded by NIMASA for specific purposes related to security.
“Investigations showed, from the account statement of January 23, 2014, that the sum of N12m (Twelve Million Naira) out of the N15m (Fifteen Million) was transferred to the account of the first defendant in Aso Savings to manage the loans he took to buy property.
“On July 10, 2014, another sum of N20m (Twenty Million Naira) was also paid into the account of the third defendant.
“Subsequently, the 2nd defendant also benefited the sum of N1, 470,000(One million Four Hundred and Seventy Thousand Naira), which was later returned to the Commission in a draft.”
When he was shown copies of the draft by the prosecution counsel, he identified them as the statement of one Ishaq Banabas, who returned the total sum of N35m (Thirty-five Million Naira) through five different bank drafts to the EFCC Draft Registration Form Receipt.
The drafts as well as the EFCC Draft Registration Form receipt were admitted in evidence and marked as exhibits D and D1, respectively.
The 3rd defendant’s account, according to him, was co-mingled and aggregated to the sum of N52m (Fifty-two Million Naira) paid to one Helen Mbonu, who used it to purchase a house for the first defendant.
Asked if the third defendant rendered any services that led to the various cash payments totaling N120m, the witness told the court that the 3rd defendant never rendered any services, adding that “the payments are proceeds of unlawful activities.”
Traffic gridlock returns to Apapa port as Federal government closes Total bridge for maintainance works
“Given the impact the closure will have on Port users, the Authority in partnership with LASTMA, Police, FRSC, and the Nigerian Navy have worked out alternative routes and are on the ground to manage the traffic situation in the affected areas.
“The Authority wishes to solicit the understanding and cooperation of all stakeholders as we continue to support measures to mitigate the temporary disruptions, the NPA pleaded.
NIMASA collaborates with NCC to regulate submarine cable operation for enhanced navigational safety on Nigerian waters
The eyewitness reporter
Apparently alarmed by the indiscriminate laying of communication cables and pipelines underneath the Nigerian waters by telecommunications operators and other allied professionals which has the potential of harming the safe navigation of ships, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA) has engaged the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in a strategic discussion to forge a formidable synergy with other relevant stakeholders with a view to developing a regulatory framework to provide operational guidelines for submarine Cable and Pipeline Operators in Nigeria.
Officials of both organs of Government in Lagos reached this agreement at a pre Audit meeting on submarine cable regulation.
The Director General of NIMASA Dr. Bashir Jamoh, who chaired the meeting, which also had the Director General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) Mr. Dasuki Arabi in attendance, noted that the Agency is committed to the Ease of Doing Business while implementing International Conventions which Nigeria has ratified and domesticated.
He noted that with Nigeria now a destination for global communication players, the time has come to prevent unregulated underwater cable laying, which might become hazardous to shipping.
According to him, “It is worthy to note that marine cable laying has been ongoing for over two decades in Nigerian waters.
“Our focus is to ensure the safety of navigation of shipping in Nigerian waters with all these underwater cables being laid.
“NIMASA is actually developing the guidelines to regulate submarine cable operators in line with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, UNCLOS; which we have ratified and NIMASA is the Agency of Government in Nigeria responsible for its implementation.
“Collaboration is a key component of ease of doing business in the best interest of the country and we will work closely with the NCC to achieve this”.
On his part, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, Efosa Idehen, noted that the stakeholders’ dialogue strategy adopted by NIMASA in developing the guidelines would ensure a win-win situation, urging NIMASA management to include the Ministry of Justice, a request NIMASA DG immediately granted.
Also speaking at the meeting was the Director General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms Mr. Dasuki Arabi, who commended NIMASA and NCC for adopting effective Inter-Agency collaboration to avert a potential challenge for the country in the future.
NIMASA had notified submarine and cable operators in Nigeria of a soon-to-be-implemented regulatory guideline for submarine cables and pipelines in Nigeria, in line with the provisions of UNCLOS.
NIMASA and the NCC agreed to identify and resolve areas of likely regulatory overlaps, ensuring a regulatory framework based on consultation to engender the attainment of Nigeria’s digital economy transformation.
Officials of the Federal Ministry of Environment and representatives of Submarine Cable operators in Nigeria were also at the meeting.
Comptroller Nnadi mourns death of retired customs officer, DCG Sanusi
“He passed on about an hour ago at a private hospital in Abuja. The Janaza prayers hold after the Zuhr prayers (1 pm) at the National Mosque, Abuja In Shaa Allah,”
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