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EFCC witness: How ex-air chiefs diverted N3bn from NIMASA

EFCC witness: How ex-air chiefs diverted N3bn from NIMASA
January 20
03:27 2021

Okechukwu Akubue, an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has narrated to a federal high court in Ikoyi, Lagos, how top air force officials under Adesola Amosu, a former chief of air staff, allegedly conspired to divert N3 billion for their personal use.

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The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) was said to have deposited the money to the special emergency operations account of the Nigeria air force (NAF) domiciled in Zenith Bank.

The EFCC is prosecuting Amosu, alongside Jacobs Adigun, a former NAF chief of accounts and budget, and Owodunni Olugbenga, a former air commodore, on an amended 13-count charge for their alleged roles in the diverting N21 billion belonging to the NAF.

Testifying as a prosecution witness, Akubue said NIMASA had on August 28, 2014, credit NAF’s Zenith bank account with N1billion.

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He said according to a memorandum of understanding between the two bodies the money “was disbursed to support the NAF in protecting Nigeria’s waterways.”

Narrating how the money was further disbursed to personal accounts, Akubue  said: “We found a debit of N4, 801,549 on behalf of Hebron Housing and Property, a company linked to the second defendant (Adigun) by way of ownership.”

“The Ecobank account in which the money was credited is also owned by the second defendant and the fund was not utilised for NAF but for the benefits of the defendants,” he said.

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The witness further said N228 million was debited from NAF account in favour of Rite Options Oil and Gas, a firm owned by one Adedeji Adelakun on September 2, 2014, and another N336 million to the same company on the same day.

Another N165,790,000 was paid to Juda Oil Limited on September 4, 2014, with an additional N170,210,000 on the same day.

Akubue said upon interrogation, Adelakun “admitted that he was not into oil and gas business, but that he was a bureau de change dealer.”

“Adelakun further confessed that the money in question was not utilised for the services of NAF, but that he converted same to United States dollar and gave to Olufunke Osisanmi, a staff of Zenith Bank on the instruction of the defendant,” he said.

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According to the witness, Mohammed Sani, the purported owner of Juda Oil Limited, also admitted that “he did not provide any service for the NAF, but that he rather changed the money to United States dollar and gave same to NAF officers nominated by the defendant.”

Akubue added that NAF also got another N1billion from NIMASA on September 15, 2014.

He said upon payment, several debit transactions were carried out by NAF including N258,693,520.78 on September 16, 2014, in favour of Delfina Oil and Gas. The company also received N243,919,114.64 in on September 17, 2014.

McAllam Oil and Gas, another company listed in the bank statement, received N261,416,480.92  on September 16, 2014. The company also got another N235,970,883.66. and

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Akubue said investigations revealed that the two companies were owned and controlled by the second defendant, and “they had no contractual agreements with the NAF”.

On September 23, 2014, NIMASA also made another lodgment of N1billion into NAF account.

“Following the lodgment, N146, 298,479.31 was debited in favour of Lebol Oil and Gas, which on the same day, also got N153, 701,520.69,” Akubue said.

Akubue said the company, which he said was owned by one Adamu Musa, a BDC operator, also got N162, 715,233.52 and N161, 284,766.48 all on September 25, 2014.

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“Under interrogation, Musa confessed that the company had no contractual agreements with the NAF and that the funds were changed to United States Dollar and given to agents nominated by the defendant,” he said.

The case has been adjourned to April 12, 15 and 20, 2021.

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