Home / Breaking News / Alleged N304.1m Fraud: Ex-NIMASA DG Used Kids’ Firm To Steal N120m – Witness Tells Court
Alleged N304.1m Fraud: Ex-NIMASA DG Used Kids’ Firm To Steal N120m – Witness Tells Court

Alleged N304.1m Fraud: Ex-NIMASA DG Used Kids’ Firm To Steal N120m – Witness Tells Court

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos yesterday heard that a former acting Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Haruna Baba Jauro, allegedly laundered N120 million through the bank account of a firm he registered in the name of himself, his children and other relations.

An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) witness, Orji Chukwuma, made the allegation while testifying in the alleged N304 million money laundering trial of Jauro and two others. Justice Tijani Ringim, before whom Jauro is being prosecuted, admitted in evidence several documents tendered by the EFCC, according to a statement by EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren.

Jauro, alongside Dr. Dauda Bitrus Bawa and a firm, Thlumbau Enterprises Limited, are the first, second and third defendants on a 19-count charge of alleged stealing and money laundering to the tune of N304,118,500. At the resumed hearing yesterday, the EFCC presented Chukwuma as its third prosecution witness (PW3).

Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), Chukwuma, of the Chairman Monitoring Unit in the EFCC office in Abuja, told the court that he was Head of the Special Task Force Unit 3 in the commission’s Lagos Zonal Command at the time of the investigation of the alleged fraud.

The PW3 said he met all the defendants in the course of his investigation, following receipt of intelligence reports against the management of NIMASA. He testified that the third defendant was incorporated by the first defendant, using his children, while the second defendant operated the account of the third defendant.

“Further investigation revealed that proceeds of unlawful activities of the first defendant, while he was the Executive Director of Finance and Administration in NIMASA, was concealed and laundered for his benefit through the third defendant. The proceeds were used to acquire a property in Abuja,” Chukwuma alleged. The witness also alleged that funds co-mingled with loans taken from Aso Savings Limited were used to acquire two other houses in Lagos.

Asked if he could identify Exhibits AI and A2, which are the third defendant’s statement of account containing the proceeds of the enquiries and investigations he carried out, the PW3 identified Exhibit A as the third defendant’s mandate and statement of accounts, responses to the EFCC’s enquires as well as the instruments used to move money out of the third defendant’s account.

He alleged that Samuel Haruna Baba had 500,000 ordinary units; Salome Haruna Baba owned 250,000 ordinary shares and Ila Haruna owned 200,000 ordinary shares in the firm. Chukwuma said the names listed were those of Jauro’s children and relations, adding that their addresses were the same as his.

The prosecution tendered a copy of the internal memorandum of NIMASA, dated July 8, 2014, and two letters of instructions to Access Bank from NIMASA, dated January 3, 2014. They were admitted and marked Exhibits B, B1 and B2 by the court.

Giving further testimony about exhibit A and some entries made on January 6, 2014, Chukwuma explained that there was an inflow of N15 million 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 N12 million out of the N15 million was transferred to the account of the first defendant in Aso Savings to manage the loans he took to buy a property.

“On July 10, 2014, another sum of N20 million was also paid into the account of the third defendant. Subsequently, the second defendant also benefited N1,470,000 which was later returned to the Commission in a draft.” paid to Helen Mbonu, who used it to purchase a house for the first defendant.

Asked if the third defendant rendered any service that led to the various cash payments totaling N120 million, the witness said the third defendant never rendered any service, adding: “The payments are proceeds of unlawful activities.” The case was adjourned till March 15 for continuation of trial. (thenationonlineng.net)

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