Disclosure News

Factual Reportage

Justice Kehinde Ogundare of the Lagos Federal High Court, Ikoyi has ordered the final forfeiture of $16.5 million and N127 million which were fraudulently diverted from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to the federal government of Nigeria.

Justice Ogundare finally forfeited the monies, while granting an application for such orders, which was filed and moved by an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) lawyer, Sulaiman I. Sulaiman, today.

The monies, according to the EFCC, were said to be proceeds of unlawful activities.

The judge had on May 23, 2024, ordered the interim forfeiture of the monies, while granting an Exparte motion, brought before the court pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14. 2006; and Section 44 (2)(B) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As Amended)

The court after forfeiting the monies in the interim on May 23, 2024, had directed the EFCC to publish the order in a national newspaper, to show cause why the monies should not be finally forfeited.

However, at the resumed hearing of the final forfeiture of the money today, counsel to the EFCC, Suleiman Suleiman, informed the court that pursuant to your lordship’s order made on May 23, 2024, that the order be published, the publication of the order was made on June 6, 2024, on a national daily.

“The said application is supported by 22 paragraphs deposed to by Oghare Ogbole, an investigator with the EFCC.

“The application is accompanied with two exhibits, the Interim order of the court and Punch publication of June 26, 2024. And It’s supported with the written address.

“We most respectively adopt same and urge the court to grant the relief sought.”

Justice Ogundare after listening to the EFCC lawyer held that “order granted as prayed.”

The EFCC in the affidavit support of the application made the followings: “That on the 2nd October, 2013, the management of NIMASA under the leadership of Dr. Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi vide letter referenced: NIMASA 2007/DG/NSA/2013/006 dated 2/10/13, requested for the release of the sum of N1,123,400 billion, for the implementation of International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) projects.

“That on the 4th day of November 2013, the then President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, through the National Security Adviser (NSA) approved the requested sum of N1,123,400 billion. And that upon the release of the first tranche in the sum of N1, 123, 400 billion, an account No. 0060559139, domiciled in Access Bank was opened on 03/1/14, in which Captain Bala Ezekiel Agaba, the Chairman of the ISPS Committee/Executive Director, NIMASA, Mr. Victor I. Onuzurike and Mr. Dele T, Ejekukor are signatories.

“That no sooner had the money hit the Committee’s account, one Mr. Uche Obilor, a close associate of the chairman of the committee, Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba received that total sum of N437,726,666.66 million, through his company known as Seabulk Offshore Operator Limited with account number 005326440 domiciled in Access Bank.

“That the said Mr. Uche Obilor equally received another whopping sum of N402,480 million, through his company Southern Offshore Limited with Zenith Bank Plc., account number 1013224100. And that also, the said Mr. Uche Obilor used his company known as Ace Prothesis Limited to receive the total sum of N66,800 million, through its account number 1012583949, domiciled in Zenith Bank Pic.,

“That out of the N437,726,666.66 million, paid to Seabulk Offshore Operator Limited, the total sum of N187 million, was transferred to Usaini Sabo on 06/03/2014, 10/06/2014, 12/06/2014 and 09/07/2014, who in turn converted same to US Dollars and handed them over to Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba.

“That from the said sum paid to Seabulk Offshore Operator Limited, the total sum of N67 million, was on the 23rd July, 2014, paid to Kofar Fada Limited, who also converted the money to US Dollars and handed over same to Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba. And that the sum of N66,800 million, received by Uche Obilor through his company Ace Prothesis Limited from NIMASA was equally converted to personal use without rendering any service to the agency

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