Former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency) NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, on Thursday denied looting N2.6billion from the agency while he was the helmsman.
He narrated before the Federal High Court in Lagos where he is being prosecuted alongside five others, how he handled a total of N2.365billion released to NIMASA for a maritime security project by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
According to him, Jonathan approved the release of N2.3billion for NIMASA in three tranches between 2013 and 2015 for the implementation of a maritime security project tagged: “International Shipping and Ports Security Code.”
He said that the funds were approved by Jonathan following a letter he (Akpobolokemi) wrote to the Federal Government through the Office of the National Security Adviser, occupied then by Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
Akpobolokemi testified in his own defence before Justice Ibrahim Buba, where he is standing trial alongside the then Executive Director, Maritime Safety and Shipping Department, NIMASA, Capt. Ezekiel Agaba.
The other defendants are Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Blockz and Stonz Limited and Al-Kenzo Logistics Limited.
Led in evidence by his lawyer, Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN), Akpobolokemi told the court that the idea of the ISPS Code came from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States of America.
He said that the security code was adopted by the International Maritime Organisation, which requested all member states to implement it in order to forestall terrorist attacks like that of September 11.
Asked by his lawyer, whether he had discretion to carry out the directive or not, Akpobolokemi said: “The directive was from the Presidency and I would have been appropriately sanctioned if I ignored the directive.”
Justice Buba adjourned the case till February 13, 2018 for Akpobolokemi to continue his testimony at the request of Nwobike.