The Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday convicted a former Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) acting Director-General Calistus Obi for converting the agency’s funds. Justice Mojisola Olatoregun found him guilty of money laundering.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Obi on April 12, 2016, on eight counts of converting N378,810,000 from NIMASA.
Obi, a former NIMASA Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, took over from Dr Patrick Akpobolokemi, who is also facing multiple money laundering and theft charges. Obi was charged with Akpobolokemi’s former aide, Dismass Alu Adoon, Grand Pact Limited and Global Sea Investment Limited.
Justice Olatoregun held that the EFCC proved the case beyond reasonable doubts. She found Obi guilty of counts five, six, seven and eight; she found Adoon guilty of counts two and four.
The judge discharged the defendants on counts one and three, which had to do with conspiracy.
Justice Olatoregun adjourned until May 28 for allocutus (a plea made in criminal trials to mitigate punishment) and sentencing. She ordered that the defendants be remanded in prison custody until then. EFCC closed its case on January 31, 2017.
The defence made a no-case submission, which was dismissed on February 21, 2017.
The prosecution said Obi, Global Seal and Grand Pact allegedly converted N42,755,000.00 on December 24, 2013. EFCC said Obi, on May 2, 2013, converted N25,000,000, as well as N46.3 million, being “proceeds of stealing” between April 1 and December 11, 2014, among others.
Count one of the charge reads: “That you, Calistus Nwabueze Obi and Dismass Alu Adoon, on or about August 5, 2014, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did conspire among yourselves to commit an offence, to wit: conversion of N111,000,000, property of NIMASA, knowing that the said sums were proceeds of stealing, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”
Source (The Nation, Friday, May 24th, 2019.)