Patrick AkpobokemiThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has alleged N35.1billion fraud against former director general of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, in two fresh charges filed on Tuesday, December 15. This is coming a day after he was re-arrested in front of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos.

The EFCC had earlier alleged a N13 billion fraud but information emerged that the amount involved so far has increased to N35.1 billion.

In one of the new charges filed before a Federal High Court in Lagos, Akpobolokemi faces 40 counts of fraud and money laundering to the tune of N34.5billion. In the second charge filed before a Lagos State High Court, Akpobolokemi is accused of stealing N600million.

Both charges are yet to be assigned even as the embattled former NIMASA chief battles to secure his release on bail, pending arraignment in court.

Sources at the EFCC disclosed that the Commission had to re-arrest the former NIMASA boss following fresh evidence of fraud but spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren could not be reached for comments.

The former NIMASA DG was arrested on Monday, December 14, shortly after his trial was adjourned by Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos, where, alongside five other individuals, he is facing criminal charges to the tune of N2.3billion filed against them by the EFCC.

Akpobolokemi’s arrest is on the strength of fresh evidence that he allegedly converted the sum of N11.7 billion and another N816 million totalling N12.9 billion meant for the development of the temporary site of the proposed Nigeria Maritime University, Kurutie, Warri South Local Government area of Delta State for his personal use.

The suspect was said to have obtained a presidential approval of N13 billion through the office of the then National Security Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd) for the acquisition and development of a temporary site for the Nigeria Maritime University.

Out of the total approved amount, a sum of N11.7 billion was allegedly paid into a company suspected to be owned by Government Oweize Ekpemopolo a.k.a Tompolo.

After the said money was paid, investigation further showed that N6 billion was further moved into another account belonging to one of Akpobolokemi’s associates.

Also, the sum of N816 million allegedly obtained through a presidential approval for the Voluntary International Maritime Organisation Members State Audit (VIMSAS) implementation in Nigeria, was allegedly diverted to his personal use.

By Pita Ochai

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