EFCC Arraigns Ex-NIMASA Chiefs Jauro, Obi For Alleged Theft
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Tuesday arraigned former Acting Directors-General of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Calistus Obi and Haruna Jauro at the Federal High Court in Lagos for alleged theft of N682.9 million.
Curiously, the two accused persons had hotly contested for the NIMASA top job following the sack of the former DG, Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi, who was removed by the current administration in late last year.
Akpobolokemi had handed over to Obi at his (Akpobolokemi’s) exit, but government ordered the reversal barely a week after, following the discovery that Jauro was indeed an older employee of the agency, even though the two gladiators were both Executive Directors of NIMASA.
Obi was then NIMASA’s Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, before his short-lived appointment was ordered to hand over to Jauro then Executive Director, Finance and Administration.
Akpobolokemi is still facing aggravated sundry charges bordering on alleged corrupt practices while he held sway as NIMASA DG under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
As at the last count, four ex-NIMASA DGs are being tried for corruption-related offences, including Temisan Omatseye, whose case is awaiting judgment.
Jauro was charged with Dr. Dauda Bawa and Thlumbau Enterprises Limited on 19 counts of converting N304.1 million belonging to NIMASA.
EFCC said they conspired on January 6, 2014, to convert N156, 477,500 belonging to NIMASA, knowing the money was stolen.
They also allegedly converted N38, 170,000 between June 3 and September 1, 2014, “knowing that the sums were proceeds of stealing, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3).”
EFCC said on May 30 and August 14, 2014, they converted N8, 500,000.00, property of NIMASA. The prosecution said they did so “knowing that the sums were proceeds of bribery”.
Obi was arraigned on eight counts of converting N378, 810,000 from NIMASA. He was charged with three companies – Dismass Alu Adoon, Grand Pact Limited and Global Sea Investment Limited.
Count one reads: “That you, Calistus Nwabueze Obi and Dismass Alu Adoon on or about August 5, 2014, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this court did conspire to commit an offence, to wit: Conversion of N111,000,000, property of NIMASA, knowing that the sums were proceeds of stealing, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3).”
Obi, Global Seal and Grand Pact were said to have converted N42,755,000.00 on December 24, 2013, while Obi, on May 2, 2013, converted N25,000,000, as well as N46.3 million between April 1 and December 11, 2014. EFCC said the amounts were proceeds of stealing.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to all counts.
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun-Ishola granted them bail for N5 million each with two sureties in like sum. The sureties must be property owners with title documents and must produce evidence of a three-year tax clearance.
Their trial will begin on May 17.