N8.5bn Fraud: Witness Reveals How Retired Army General, Atewe, Diverted N4.9bn NIMASA Fund

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The trial of Major General Emmanuel Atewe (retd.), a former Commander of the Military Joint Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield,before Justice Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos continued on Friday, February 17, 2017 with a prosecution witness, Ahidjo Nkem, a businessman, revealing how Atewe fraudulently diverted the sum of N 4, 951, 163,103 ( Four Billion, Nine Hundred and Fifty-one Million, One Hundred and Sixty-three Thousand, One Hundred and Three Naira)  from the coffers of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency,  NIMASA. 

 Atewe alongside Patrick Akpobolokemi, a former Director-General of NIMASA,  Kime Engonzu and Josephine Otuaga are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on an amended 22-count charge bordering on fraudulent diversion of N8.5billion from the coffers of NIMASA between September 5, 2014 and May 20, 2015.


The defendants allegedly used six companies- Jagan Limited; Jagan Trading Company Ltd; Jagan Global Services Ltd; Al-Nald Limited and Paper Warehouse Limited – to divert the money from the account of NIMASA.


At the resumed hearing today, Nkem, the first prosecution witness, PW1, told the court how he met Atewe at a church called Villa Church located within his (Atewe) house in Abuja, where they were meeting for vigils. 

Nkem, who was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, further told the court that Atewe once invited him to Bayelsa state between July and September, 2014.

 ‘‘When I met him in Bayelsa state,he asked me if I had any company and I said ‘yes’.  After I provided my companies’ names and my account details to him, he transferred the sum of N4.9billion to me. He said the money was for some contracts that he wanted me to execute for him. He, however, warned me not to tamper with it. He said I should wait for further instruction from him,’’ Nkem explained.

 He also told the court that Atewe allegedly instructed him to always call and wait for his directive before giving any money he received to Engonzu.

He added: ‘‘Engonzu used to instruct me to change the money to dollars, which I always handed over to him at his house at the Game Village, Apo, Abuja.” 

Justice Seidu adjourned to March 21, 22 and 23, 2017 for continuation of trial.

Wilson Uwujaren 

Head Media & Publicity

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