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Alleged N8.5bn Fraud: Zenith Bank Staff Testifies In Akpobolokemi, Others’ Trial

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The trial of Patrick Akpobolokemi, a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and three others for an alleged N8.5 billion fraud before Justice Ayokunle Faaji of a Lagos Federal High Court, with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) calling a staff of Zenith Bank Plc, as its seventh witness.

Akpobolokemi is standing trial alongside a retired Major-General and a former Commander of the Joint Military Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield, Major Geberal. Emmanuel Atewe, and two other staff of the agency, Kime Engozu and Josphine Otuaga.

All the defendants are standing trial on an amended 22-count charge bordering on money laundering.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, Major General Emmanuel Atewe, Kime Engozu, and Josphine Otuaga sometimes in 2014, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Court, with intent to defraud, conspired amongst yourselves to commit an offence to wit: conversion of the sum of N8,537,586,798.58 billion, property of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.”

They had pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, thereby prompting the commencement of their trial.

At the resumed sitting today, November 16, 2021, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, presented the seventh prosecution witness, (PW7), Moses Ngbekan, a compliance officer with Zenith Bank, Plc.

Moses while being led in evidence by Oyedepo, confirmed that the EFCC and Zenith Bank Plc had shared correspondences in respect to the case.

Moses also identified some documentary exhibits which includes the account opening package, statements of account and the instruments of transaction used to perpetrate the alleged crime, stating that the documents emanated from Zenith Bank Plc.

The case has been adjourned till tomorrow, November 17, for continuation of trial.

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