Justice Tijani Ringim of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Tuesday, March 14, 2023, admitted in evidence several documents tendered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, against a former acting Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Haruna Baba Jauro, and two others.
Jauro alongside Dr. Dauda Bitrus Bawa and a company, Thlumbau Enterprises Limited, is being prosecuted on a 19-count charge bordering on stealing and money laundering to the tune of N304, 118, 500( Three Hundred and Four Million One Hundred and Eighteen Thousand Five Hundred Naira).
At the resumed sitting today, the prosecution presented its third prosecution witness, PW3, Orji Chukwuma, an investigator with the Commission.
Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, Chukwuma, of the Chairman Monitoring Unit, EFCC, Abuja, told the court that he was Head, Special Task Force Unit 3, Lagos Zonal Command, at the time of the investigation of the alleged fraud.
When asked if he knew the defendants and the company, Thlumbau Enterprises Limited, the PW3, whose team was tasked with investigating money laundering and other financial crimes, stated that he came across all the defendants in the course of his investigation, upon receipt of intelligence reports against the management of NIMASA. According to him, in the course of investigations, various enquiries were made to banks and staff of NIMASA and that interviews were also conducted on staff, banks’ employees, contractors to NIMASA , corporate organizations, individuals who made payments into the 3rd and 1st defendants’ accounts as well as some beneficiaries of the proceeds made by them.
Investigations revealed that the 3rd defendant was incorporated by the 1st defendant, using his children, while the 2nd defendant operated the account of the 3rd defendant.
“Further investigation revealed that proceeds of unlawful activities of the 1st defendant, while he was the Executive Director of Finance and Administration in NIMASA, was concealed and laundered for his benefit through the 3rd defendant. The proceeds was used to acquire a property in Abuja,” he said.
In his further testimony, Chukwuma told the court that funds co-mingled with loans taken from Aso Savings Limited to also acquire two other houses in Lagos. Asked if he could identify both Exhibits AI and A2, which are the 3rd defendant’s statement of account containing the proceeds of the enquiries and investigations he carried out, the PW3 identified exhibit A series as the 3rd defendant’s mandate and statement of accounts, responses to the EFCC’s enquires as well as the instruments used to move money out of the 3rd defendant’s account. Giving evidence about Exhibit A1 and the share structures of the 3rd defendant, the PW3 told the court that one Samuel Haruna Baba had 500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand) ordinary units; one Salome Haruna Baba owned 250,000 (Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand) ordinary shares and one Ila Haruna owned 200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand) ordinary shares.
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