The management of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has suspended seven staff who are allegedly linked with N1.2 billion fraud.

The seven staffers are currently facing money laundering and stealing charges before a Lagos High court preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The affected staff of the agency include Eziekiel Agaba, Executive Director, Maritime Safety and Development; Ekene Nwakuche and Felix Bob-Nabena. Others are Warredi Enisuoh, Governor Juan, Ugo Frederick and Timi Alari.

They were arraigned with Patrick Akpobolokemi, the former director-general of the agency on a 30-count charge of conspiracy, fraudulent conversion of funds and money laundering before Justice Salihu Sa’idu of the Federal High Court, Lagos.

According to an inside source, the suspension of the seven staff was in line with the Nigeria civil service rule.

‘’They were excused from work to go and defend themselves. It is in line with the civil service procedure. If they are eventually proven innocent of the charges they will be re-absorbed’’, the source declared.

The source was, however, silent on what would be their fate should they be found guilty of the charges.

‘’If they were convicted, they will automatically lose their job and all their entitlements’’, another respondent volunteered.

Head, Media and Publicity of EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said they allegedly conspired to convert and launder several sums of money running into billions of naira under the guise of providing security intelligence around the maritime domain.

A committee on intelligence was established by the agency under the watch of Akpobolokemi with the second accused person, Captain Agaba as chairman.

The committee allegedly received a total sum of N1, 153,000,000 between December 2013 and July 2015.

The accused persons allegedly conspired and hired companies to help disburse the funds which investigation revealed were neither registered nor have requisite capacity to provide such services.

It was further discovered that most of the companies contracted were either nominated by the accused persons or are directly owned by them.

BY FUNSO OLOJO

 

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