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Obi, former NIMASA boss, jailed for seven years over N136 million fraud

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FORMER Acting Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Calistus Obi, has been sentenced to imprisonment for seven years, the News Agency of Nigeria has reported.

The sentence was pronounced on Monday by the Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, in connection with an eight-count charge of fraud to the tune of N136 million.

He was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which had alleged that the offence was committed in August 2014.

The commission said Obi and a former NIMASA employee, Alu Dismas, conspired to unlawfully appropriate property belonging to the agency knowing full well that they are proceeds of stealing, in violation of the 2012 Money Laundering Prohibitions Act.

Rotimi Oyedepo in an earlier trial said the evidence shows that funds were transferred to Obi and were used for personal purposes.

The former acting DG was convicted on Thursday, May 23, but the court deferred sentencing to a later date.

Obi was appointed acting DG in July 2015 following the sack of Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi by the federal government.

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Meanwhile, Haruna Jauro, another former NIMASA acting DG is also facing trial at the Federal High Court in Lagos. He was charged in 2016 alongside other defendants with 19 counts of converting N304 million belonging to the agency. He closed his defence in May and the court adjourned to June 20 for the adoption of final addresses.

Patrick Akpobolokemi, Obi’s predecessor has been arraigned before the court by the EFCC on 12 counts including conspiracy, forgery, and stealing N687 million.

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'Kunle works with The ICIR as an investigative reporter and fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via aadebajo@icirnigeria.org or, if you're feeling particularly generous, follow him on Twitter @KunleBajo.

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