A witness in the ongoing trial of an Executive Director, (Maritime Labour and Cabotage) of the Nigerian Maritime Administration Safety Agency (NIMASA), Calistus Nwabueze Obi has told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos how his company received the sum of N102, 000,000 from NIMASA without executing any contract.
Nwabueze is standing trial alongside Alu Dismas, personal assistant to the former Director General of the agency, Patrick Akpobolokemi.
The witness, a Bureau de Change operator named Kolomi Mohammed, made the disclosure when he was asked to explain the financial transactions which occurred on August 5, 2014 and January 21 and 22, 2015 between his company and NIMASA.
In those three days, it was discovered that a total sum of N102,000,000 was transferred from the account of Committee on Intelligence Gathering in NIMASA to the account of Kostan Mega Concept Limited, a company belonging to the witness.
Kolomi told the court that on August 5, 2014 one Sule Usaini, a colleague of his came to him with a business and asked for his company’s account number. He said after he gave Sule his company’s account number, there was a credit of N12, 000,000 which he subsequently converted into Dollar and gave to Sule.
Also on the 21st and 22nd of January 2015 there was another transaction of N49,500,000 on each of those days from the account of Committee on Intelligence Gathering into his account and he gave the Dollar equivalent to Sule.
When Sule Usaini came in as PW 6, he confirmed that the transactions of August 5, 2014, and January 21 and 22, 2015 was introduced to Kostan by him. He further explained that the transaction came about when the second defendant approached him and asked him to provide his account number that he wanted to buy Dollar from him. Sule said he told Dismas that he doesn’t have an account number but he later obtained Kostan’s account number and sent it to Dismas via text message.
Sule continued that after he gave Dismas the account number, Dismas contacted him and asked if he had received alert to which he responded that a credit of N12,000,000 had entered the account of Kostan, having already confirmed this from Kolomi.
Sule narrated the same story on the transactions of 21st and 22nd January 2015. He told the court that the money was converted into Dollar and given to the second defendant Alu Dismas. He said on one occasion, he took the Dollar to Dismas’ ninth floor office in NIMASA building at No.4 Burma Road Apapa and on another occasion, he took the money to Banana Island where he handed Dismas the Dollar equivalent.
Earlier in the trial, the prosecution had called one Roland Chikwendu, an account officer of one of the companies of the first defendant, Granpac Limited. In his evidence, he told the court how Calistus allegedly siphoned the sum of N47,255,000 form the account of Committee on Intelligence Gathering and Technical Ratification of NIMASA through the account of Granpac Limited. He further explained to the court how the monies were eventually disbursed to other companies allegedly belonging to Calistus and some individuals.
According to the witness, Calistus Obi is sole signatory to the account of Granpac Limited.
PW 2 was one Sa’idu Yusuf from Heritage Bank and an account officer to Global Seal Limited. In his evidence he disclosed how Global Seal Limited received N15,000,000 from NIMASA and Calistus disbursed same amount to himself and few other companies belonging to him. He rounded off his evidence by identifying Calistus as the sole signatory of the account of Global Seal Limited.
PW3 was stood down by the court because the counsel representing the first, third and fourth defendants, O. Akanni SAN objected to the introduction of the witness as the witness’ name was not part of the proof of evidence. Justice Olanturegun asked the prosecution to produce another witness and leave PW3 until the next adjourned date. PW 4, Oliver Ewerem a compliance officer in Access Bank in his evidence confirmed all the transaction earlier mentioned from the account of Committee on Intelligence Gathering which is domiciled at Access Bank.