The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Friday, June 3, 2016, arraigned a former Commander of Guards Brigade and erstwhile Commander of the Joint Military Task Force in the Niger Delta, “OPERATION PULO SHIELD,” Major General Emmanuel Atewe, before Justice Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos State, on an 11-count charge bordering on conspiracy, abuse of office and money laundering.
This was made know by the Head of Media and Publicity in the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, in a press release on Friday.
The senior army officer who is currently serving with the army’s Training and Doctrine Command in Minna, Niger state was charged alongside former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi, and two others.
They were accused of diverting over N8 billion which was paid into the account of the Joint Military Task Force by NIMASA when Akpobolokemi was NIMASA DG.
According to the EFCC, payments to the tune of N8, 537,586,798.58 were allegedly made by NIMASA to the JTF’s account with a new generation bank. A substantial part of the money, about N6, 038,350,741 was converted into US Dollars through various Bureau De Change operators, and later shared by the defendants
Part of the money was allegedly used in the acquisition of choice properties in Port Harcourt and Abuja, as well as shares in blue chip companies.
All the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, pleaded for accelerated hearing of the case and said he was ready with his witnesses.
Counsel to the first accused, Mathew Bukar, however prayed the court to grant his client, Akpobolokemi, bail, as he had earlier been granted bail by judges in the other cases where he is currently standing trial. Counsel to the third and fourth accused also asked for bail for his clients.
After considering the bail applications, Justice Saidu subsequently granted bail to Akpobokelemi on the terms earlier given by courts where he is currently standing trial on corruption charges.
The second, third and fourth accused were also granted bail in the sum of One hundred million naira each, two sureties and one of whom must be a senior civil servant of the rank of Deputy Director. The other must be a relative who must have a property in Victoria Island, Ikoyi, or Lekki areas of Lagos.
The defendants were to remain in prison custody until they have perfected their bail conditions.
The case was adjourned to June 24, 2016 for commencement of trial.